Clothing and home revenue at Marks & Spencer fell by 4.8% to £1.1bn in the 13 weeks to 29 December following a decline in store footfall and a particularly challenging November.
Total UK sales including food during the 13-week period were down 2.7% to £2.8bn, and international revenue fell 15.1% to £262m.
The amount of clothing and home product put into the retailer’s end-of-year Sale was down 25% as the result of a planned reduction in stock levels.
Chief executive Steve Rowe said reduced consumer confidence, mild weather and Black Friday discounting among its rivals had made November “a very challenging trading period”. M&S did not take part in Black Friday in 2018.
But he added: “However, overall our 13-week performance was steady with some early encouraging signs.In clothing and home we are at the early stages of far reaching changes in range, in style, customer focus and channel mix.
”Our objective is to reshape our buy, deliver market leading value and focus on stylish and wearable wardrobe “must-haves” as we grow our business with family aged customers seeking style, quality and value.
“Improvements to our online proposition and operations helped us to mitigate lower footfall to stores resulting from, in part, the increasing pace of change in the store estate.
”Our clothing and home sales performance was strong, with UK revenue up 14%, supported by an increased focus on digital marketing together with improvements to our delivery proposition and our operations at Castle Donington. Womenswear online growth significantly outperformed driven by areas including dresses and knitwear reflecting our ’must-haves’ and social media campaigns.”