Marks & Spencer unveils fall in clothing sales

Marks & Spencer has unveiled a fall in clothing sales in the fourth quarter despite a rise in food revenues.

Marks & Spencer has unveiled a fall in clothing sales in the fourth quarter despite a rise in food revenues.

General merchandise, which includes clothes and shoes, fell 2.2% on a like-for-like basis in the 13 weeks to March 30th as the retailer was gripped by difficult trading conditions.

An unseasonably cold March has affected sales of new summer clothing ranges across UK stores.

Despite the weather's hit to the M&S division, it fell less than the 6.0% fall analysts at Nomura had predicted.

The company also beat the forecast for a 3.5% rise in food, as like-for-like sales jumped 6.3%.

Total UK sales rose 2.2% on a like-for-like basis, while international sales grew 7.0% and multi-channel sales increased 22.9%.

"We are working hard on improving our performance in general merchandise and, despite difficult trading conditions, we made progress in our operational execution," said Chief Executive Officer, Marc Bolland.

"We delivered an excellent result in food, with performance well ahead of the market, as customers continued to trust us for provenance and quality. We are increasingly seen as the destination shop for special occasions.

"Multi-channel sales growth accelerated and our international business also performed well during the quarter."

Looking ahead, the firm expects pressure on consumers' disposable incomes to continue throughout 2013 and as a result remains cautious about outlook.

RD

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