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M&S general merchandise slumps again

Marks & Spencer’s general merchandise has seen both total and like-for-like sales in the UK drop once again, although group sales have risen overall.

The retail giant saw like-for-like UK sales of GM – the arm that includes clothing and footwear – drop by 3.8% in the 13 weeks to March 30. Total UK sales in that category also fell by 2.2%.

However this has been offset by strong growth in food – with total sales up 6.3%.

Overall total UK sales rose 2.6% while group sales have risen 3.1%.

Multichannel sales over the period grew 22.9%, while international sales rose 7%.

Chief executive Marc Bolland – who has come under fire for much of M&S’ recent woes – said: “We are working hard on improving our performance in general merchandise and, despite difficult trading conditions, we made progress in our operational execution.”

Multichannel growth had come on the back of the retailer’s click-and-collect offer, with mobile sales rocketing 70%.

Performance in India and China – where it had been reported as struggling – was described as “strong”, while performance in Europe “improved”.

The business said its outlook for the year ahead continued to be cautious, as pressure on consumers’ disposable income is maintained.

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