Marks & Spencer has suffered a sharp sales slowdown in clothing in its current financial year.

Figures obtained by the Financial Times suggest that womenswear like-for-like sales have plunged 19% in the seven weeks to May 19.

Meanwhile menswear sales have fallen 9%, lingerie has slipped 4% and home furnishings were down 3%, the newspaper reported. This suggests that general merchandise like-for-likes have plummeted 11%.

Despite the plunge, trading is understood to have been “outstanding” in the past week, according to the newspaper.

The poor trading comes on the back of Marks & Spencer posting a fall in underlying pre-tax profit last week. Chief executive Marc Bolland also abandoned the ambitious sales targets he unveiled in November 2010.

Womenswear sales across the sector have been hit by the unseasonably cold weather in recent months.