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Marks & Spencer share price slumps ahead of results next week

Shares in Marks & Spencer fell to £2.19 on Friday as analysts grow ever more cautious ahead of next week's interim profits announcement. There is talk that at best the interim dividend will be maintained and the final dividend reduced in order to assist the stretched balance sheet. Marks & Spencer has been one of the groups on the high street to suggest that Christmas may well not arrive for UK retailers and consumers are already struggling to make ends meet.

If the figures on Tuesday are worse than already downgraded expectations we could see serious pressure placed upon some of the smaller retailers who have been struggling of late. Those who believe that the likes of Marks & Spencer are literally untouchable in these situations may well need to think again as this all conquering credit crunch continues to pile up more and more high profile victims.

While the headline figures are useful as an indication of the state of the high Street more importantly the chairman's statement should outline the company's hopes and fears for the festive period. Make no mistake, next week's announcement is vital to the short term performance of UK retail sector.

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