Has the British public really fallen out of love with shopping?

Marks & Spencer still shines like a retail beacon even if the flame is flickering a little just now...
Marks & Spencer still shines like a retail beacon even if the flame is flickering a little just now...

Last we were talking, again, about the retail sector and the threat to shopping centres as key anchor stores were being lost.

This week there’s precious little good news and I can already tell you next week isn’t going to be much better thanks to stuff sitting on the business desk embargoed for Monday.

Once again this week we had a set of results from Marks and Spencer that sadly aren’t much of a surprise anymore but that would once have been uttlerly shocking.

Sainsbury’s also posted some figures but the highlight of its news was a warning from boss Mike Coupe of a distinct lack on Christmas cheer this year.

Marksies enjoys a special spot in Ulster hearts but even that can’t save it when things are not as they should be.

Across the UK, the firm also issued a sales warning and the media devoted a great deal of air time and print to explaining how boss Steve Rowe plans to bring the firm back on track.

This from a company that was formerly seen as save as houses and financially solid as a bank.

Yes...... well, let’s just move on.

In fact, M&S reported reported a decline in half-year revenues while pulling a profits increase out of the hat.

But the figures are not good.

Revenue dropped by 3.1% to £4.96 billion, reflecting declining sales in both the food and clothing and home divisions.

M&S said it does not expect much improvement in sales in the near future, as it deals with “the growth of online competition and the march of the discounters”.

“Therefore, as we embark on the difficult early stages of transformation, we are expecting little improvement in sales trajectory,” the retailer said.

Of course we’ve watched this scene role out time and time again over the year with House of Fraser, Mothercare and Debenhams all scrambling to restructure and stay relevant against the unrelenting wall of online shopping.

But, still, seeing M&S like this is a little like seeing a member of the Royal Family caught by the paparazzi slipping out the back of a pawn shop having just popped some jewels to pay a bill or two.