Marks & Spencer suffers ninth slide in sales

Like-for-like general merchandise sales drop 1.3 per cent between July and September on a year earlier
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High street retailer Marks & Spencer has reported its ninth consecutive quarter of sliding clothing and homeware sales, as profits dropped almost 9 per cent in the six months up until September.

The retailer said like-for-like general merchandise sales dropped 1.3 per cent between July and September on a year earlier, slightly above City predictions and better than a 1.6 per cent first-quarter decline.

M&S said despite consumer confidence seemingly improving, they still appear reluctant to spend, leading to the high street giant to add their outlook for the rest of the year remains cautious.

Underlying pre-tax profits dropped 8.9 per cent to £261.6 million during the six months to the end of September, weighed down by the cost of the star-studded launch of its autumn/winter clothing range.

Chief executive Marc Bolland said its revamp of womenswear was its key priority during the period, and is showing "early signs of improvement". It’s ‘Leading Ladies’ campaign featured dozens of famous women, including Dame Helen Mirren, Tracy Emin and Katie Piper, the cost of which may have weighed down pre-tax profits.

Its food business however bolstered figures, as like-for-like sales rose 3.2 per cent in its second quarter.

Additional reporting by agencies