Marks & Spencer is set to report its first drop in underlying clothing sales for more than a year when it updates on its final quarter trading this week.
The retailer’s joint broker, Morgan Stanley, has forecast a 7% decline in general merchandise like-for-like sales in the UK, which includes clothing, in the three months to the end of March.
It represents the first fall in underlying clothing sales since September 2009.
Some 4 percentage points of the drop will be from the first five days of the January Sale being included in the previous quarter. The underlying decline is expected to be about 3%, according to Morgan Stanley.