Marks & Spencer has been forced to re-publish its first quarter results after incorrectly claiming that group sales had increased.

Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer filed a correction to the Stock Exchange this afternoon.

The high street bellwether said this morning that reported group sales had advanced 1.3% during the 13 weeks to July 2.

But in a correction filed to the Stock Exchange this afternoon, M&S revealed that group sales actually fell 0.4% during its first quarter.

On a constant currency basis, M&S said this morning that group sales had edged up 0.2%, when in fact they had dropped 0.9%.

A spokesman for the retailer blamed the inaccuracy on a “clerical error” but said “all other numbers reported are unaffected.”

It comes as a further blow to new boss Steve Rowe, after like-for-likes in its struggling clothing and homewares division tumbled 8.9% during the period.

Within its food division, like-for-likes fell 0.9%, which M&S blamed on the timing of Easter.

It meant UK like-for-likes fell 4.3% during the quarter, with total UK sales sliding 1.1%.

Despite that sales performance, Rowe insisted that his strategy for the business would bear fruit in the longer term.

He said this morning: “We knew our actions would reduce total sales but we are seeing some encouraging early signs.”