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City worried by sales drop

Market speculation suggests like-for-like clothing sales plummeted 3.1% in the week to September 1, causing concern for analysts banking on a strong autumn season for fashion multiples.

However, Marks & Spencer fought back, rising 17p to 623.5p, despite reports that its clothing market share fell by four basis points to 10.2% for the 24 weeks to July. M&S is thought to have lost out to the value retailers. Last week M&S launched a 70% off summer Sale to help clear out stock.

Next may also have been a market share winner at the expense of M&S. Its share price rose 91p to 1960p as the market gained confidence in the retailer, whose interim figures are due this week.

Sports Direct was caught up in yet another bizarre row when PIRC, a group representing shareholders, encouraged them to vote against two resolutions and abstain on three more at the company's AGM, scheduled to take place on Monday. PIRC has bemoaned that the fact that chairman Mike Ashley owns 57% of the stock. Shares were up 1.25p to 141.75p.

Sainsbury's suitor Delta Two, the Qatari-backed investment fund, was expected to rejig its bid for the supermarket as Drapers went to press. The offer could include up to £800 million more cash than the original £10.6bn bid. Shares slipped 26p to 557p

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