Marks & Spencer saw like-for-likes at its clothing arm decline by 2.1% in the 13 weeks to December 28, the 10th consecutive quarter that division has seen a drop.
Total sales during the period also fell, by 1.1%. Food, which rose by 4.1% on a total basis, helped push M&S’ group quarterly figures into positive territory, with the retailer recording a 1.8% increase overall.
During the eight weeks to December 24 like-for-likes within the retailer’s general merchandise arm rose by 0.5%, with total general merchandise sales up 1.5%.
Chief executive Marc Bolland said: “We delivered an improved performance in general merchandise over the important Christmas period, with sales up 1.5% in a highly promotional market. However, an exceptionally unseasonal October, which saw GM sales down strongly, has resulted in a quarterly performance below our expectations.”
He added that the business had seen “early signs of improvement in our womenswear business”, which resulted in a “small market share growth in this area for the first time in three years”.
Coats, dresses and footwear were highlighted as strong performers.