• UK first quarter like-for-likes slip 4.3%
  • Clothing and home LFLs fall 8.9%
  • Food LFLs down 0.9%

Marks & Spencer has posted a sharp drop in UK first-quarter like-for-likes as it felt the impact of running fewer promotions in its clothing and homewares division.

The high-street giant, whose new boss Steve Rowe took over in April, said UK like-for-likes in the 13 weeks to July 2 fell 4.3%. Total UK sales slid 1.1%.

Its ailing clothing and homewares division was particularly hit as like-for-likes tumbled 8.9%.

The results come off the back of an 18.5% fall in full-year pre-tax profits.

M&S has re-priced around 1,000 lines since January and cut its number of ‘cyber days’ from six to one. It has also reduced promotions in the division, while shifting its Summer Sale to July.

“We knew our actions would reduce total sales but we are seeing some encouraging early signs,” Rowe said today.

At M&S’s food division, which has been a star performer, like-for-likes in the quarter fell 0.9%, which the retailer blamed on the timing of Easter.

“Our food business continues to strongly outperform a deflationary market,” said Rowe. Its new ‘Simply Food’ stores “continue to perform ahead of expectations”, the retailer said.

International sales rose 0.7% at constant currency and increased 6.1% on a reported basis, M&S said.

Looking ahead it said it continues to “manage the business for the challenging market environment” and maintained its full-year guidance.