M&S's mission: St Michael looks for victory in Europe

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Marks & Spencer, due to update the market on Wednesday, will be targeting international expansion for its future growth in the face of deteriorating trading conditions in Britain.

Consensus forecasts predict M&S will report a 6.2 per cent slump in like-for-like sales of clothing for the 13 weeks to 2 April. In contrast, food sales have risen 1.3 per cent. Its underlying sales in the UK are forecast to fall by 2.5 per cent in the quarter. The retailer has confirmed plans for a store in Paris. It is aiming for sales from its international operations, excluding Ireland, of between £800m and £1bn over the next four years. Currently, its international sales are just over £500m.