• Like-for-like general merchandise sales fell 1.6%
  • Overall general merchandise sales up 0.5%
  • Group sales increased 3.3%
  • UK sales were up 2.7%

Retailer Marks & Spencer has today (9 July) booked a decline in first quarter like-for-like clothing and general merchandise sales.

While the company recorded a 1.6% decline in like-for-like general merchandise sales - which includes clothing and footwear - over the quarter ended 29 June, overall general merchandise sales rose 0.5%.

In general merchandise, M&S said it has seen "some improvement, despite difficult trading conditions and further intensification of promotional activity in the market."

It added that tight management of the business has resulted in a clean stock position at the end of the quarter.

Group sales increased 3.3% over the quarter. UK sales increased 2.7%, rising 0.3% on a like-for-like basis. International sales grew 8.7% over the period. Online sales also grew over the quarter, up 29.9%.

"Our general merchandise business showed some improvement this quarter and the food business delivered another excellent performance, continuing the strong underlying trend," said chief executive Marc Bolland.

"Our international business also performed well during the quarter and M&S.com sales were very strong.
"We continue to make good progress with our plans to transform M&S into an international, multi-channel retailer."