Marks & Spencer has reported that like-for-like fashion sales fell 3.4% for the three months to September 27 meaning fashion sales have declined for 14 consecutive quarters at the retailer.
The retailer, which has been struggling to turnaround its fashion business, blamed the warm weather in September for “adversely impacting” sales in the quarter by 2.5%.
Womenswear showed an “improved performance” with sales up 1.3% in the first five months of the financial year, before it hit September.
Like for like general merchandise sales were down 4% for the three months and decreased by 2.3% for the first half. Like-for-like fashion sales were down 2.2% for the first half.
Gross margin at the retailer was up 150bps, ahead of full year guidance of 100bps in the first half, as there was an increase in full price sales and “significant sourcing gains.”
Online sales at M&S.com dropped by 6.3% for the 26 weeks.
Group sales were up by 1% to £4.9bn, while underlying profit before tax increased by 2.3% to £268m for the first half.
EBITDA for the half was up £37.7m to £578.8m.
Chief executive Marc Bolland said: “M&S delivered sales growth and increased profit in the first half despite a tough market, particularly in September. We are pleased with the progress we have made against our key priorities for the year: GM gross margin, improving womenswear, driving food growth and cash generation.”