Declines in clothing sales at Marks & Spencer allegedly slowed during July.

Clothing sales fell 0.9% in the 24 weeks to 7 July, against a 3% decline in the 24 weeks to 9 June, the Financial Times reported, quoting Kantar Worldpanel figures.

The retailer's market share fell 19 basis points compared to the prior year, an improvement on the 38 basis point decline in the 24 weeks to June 9.

M&S has also confirmed plans to close four stores in the Republic of Ireland, resulting in 180 job losses.

The move comes as a result of a strategic store review, the retail group said. The stores are located in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, Tallaght and Dun Laoghaire in Dublin, and Naas in Co Kildare.