Struggling high-street retailer Marks & Spencer has recorded its fourth straight quarter of declining sales, with clothing down 3.6 per cent.

M&S said in a trading statement on Tuesday that its total sales for the 12 weeks to 2 October fell 5.5 per cent compared to the same period last year. But it stressed that total clothing and home sales were "steady" for the last two weeks of the quarter.

The retailer lost its number one position in the UK clothing market by volume sales to supermarket giant Asda two months ago.

But the latest sales figures suggest its highly promoted autumn ranges are finding favour with the British public.

M&S still believes profits are in line with expectations, in the range of £285-295 million compared with £325 million for the same period last year.

Results for the six months to 2 October will include £80m of exceptional charges, including an undisclosed amount for fending off a £9 billion takeover bid by retail entrepreneur Philip Green and head office restructuring.

M&S is also continuing with a tender offer that will see it buy back £2.3bn worth of shares, priced in a range of 332p to 380p. An extraordinary general meeting is being held on 22 October to approve the offer.