Twenty two of 26 stores reported a drop in sales, and only London's Oxford Street, Knight & Lee shop in Southsea and online sales posted a rise. Scotland and the north of England stores fared best, while our out-of-town shops found trading tougher.
However, most of the fall was driven by a dive in home and electrical sales, while fashion sales were up 2.2%.
Branded men's and womenswear performed best, with women's footwear also strong.
The retailer said it had an encouraging start to its Clearance which started on the last day of the reporting week.
Commercial director Phil Hullah said: "We can look forward with confidence to driving sales of Clearance and full-price product and further increasing our share of trade during this critical summer period."