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M&S to reveal 3% fall in general merchandise sales

Marks & Spencer is expected to announce around a 3.4% fall in like-for-like general merchandise sales for the first three months of this year on Thursday, according to analysts.

Marks & Spencer

The fourth quarter trading update will be the first presented by Steve Rowe, who took over from Marc Bolland as chief executive of M&S on April 2. Bolland will act as an advisor until the end of June.

The retailer’s like-for-like food sales are expected to be roughly flat.

M&S’s general merchandise sales – which are mostly clothing – have been in almost constant decline for the past 19 quarters. It has also struggled with particularly difficult conditions on the high street over recent months.

Two weeks ago, Lord Simon Wolfson, chief executive of M&S’s biggest rival Next, warned this could be the toughest year for UK retailers since 2008.

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