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Marks & Spencer fourth quarter clothing sales set to fall

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.

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