John Lewis boss out and M&S shares slump after Christmas sales gloom Latest festive trading updates from the high street have added to the grim picture for Britain’s retail sector.

John Lewis said its boss was stepping down and Marks & Spencer shares have slumped after both retailers delivered grim Christmas trading updates.

Each saw sales fall over a tough festive period for the high street – capping a gloomy 2019 which was the worst on record for the retail sector.

Supermarket giant Tesco bucked the trend, but even then only managed to eke out growth of 0.1%.

At John Lewis, the departure of managing director Paula Nickolds was announced as it reported like-for-like sales down 2% for the seven weeks from 17 November to 4 January and warned of lower profits.

Meanwhile, beleaguered Marks & Spencer – relegated last year from the FTSE 100 – saw shares fall as much as 10% after it reported another decline in clothing sales and weak online growth.

John Lewis Partnership (JLP) said the departure of Ms Nickolds was the result of a shake-up integrating the teams behind its department store brand John Lewis – which she currently leads – and its supermarket chain Waitrose.

Ms Nickolds, who has worked at JLP for 25 years and has been managing director of John Lewis since 2017, will leave the partnership in February.

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