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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 January 2008, 11:50 GMT
Worries over High Street slowdown
M&S store
Analysts say M&S results point to a High Street slowdown
Disappointing results from Marks and Spencer are further evidence of a slump in consumer spending on the High Street, according to analysts.

M&S is seen as one of Britain's stronger retailers and, if it is struggling, the assumption is that others are also in trouble.

A slowdown in the High Street may have important knock-on effects.

Economists say it may encourage members of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee (MPC) to consider lowering interest rates again.

Here is what London's financial experts made of the numbers.

STEPHEN POPE, CANTOR FITZGERALD

"The market is rather depressed by the M&S results.

"When a flagship general retailer has a dreadful performance in the third quarter then it does not augur well for other general retailers.

"While turnover has been frantic it has been on the back of drastic discounts.

"The January sales came in December."

WILLEM BUITER, FORMER BANK OF ENGLAND MPC MEMBER

"The economy appears to be well and truly slowing, it's not just sentiment and expectation.

"It's now sales and other hard numbers that are turning south.

"Inflation expectations though are still above target.

"It makes for an interesting menu for the MPC."

HOWARD WHEELDON, BGC PARTNERS

"M&S blames price deflation as the main reason for the decline in like-for-like sales and it makes great play that both footfall and volume growth was in its book, satisfactory.

"Sorry, not good enough.

"If M&S has needed to cut prices by that much to keep planned volume growth intact then it is being a busy fool."

TREVOR WILLIAMS, LLOYDSTSB

"We're seeing the lag of the interest rate increases between August 2006 and August 2007.

"Higher energy prices also mean higher gas and electricity bills.

"Higher inflation also took away from real incomes and weakened consumer spending - we're likely to see more of that in 2008."

VICKY REDWOOD, CAPITAL ECONOMICS

"We are starting to see the cracks in consumer spending appear as we get new data on December sales.

"On the whole it seems trading was a bit disappointing."

ADAM COLE, RBC CAPITAL MARKETS

"The catalyst this morning for sterling's fall is the M&S story with the results saying that rising utility bills and tighter credit conditions are having a knock-on effect on consumer spending."

SEE ALSO
M&S hit by poor Christmas sales
09 Jan 08 |  Business
John Lewis sees strong Christmas
04 Jan 08 |  Business
Currys owner issues profit alert
03 Jan 08 |  Business
Marks and Spencer's Rose honoured
29 Dec 07 |  Business
Upbeat M&S eyes overseas growth
06 Nov 07 |  Business
M&S faces 'challenging' trading
10 Jul 07 |  Business

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