The new year will bring little cheer for retailers with Marks & Spencer expected to report its worst Christmas trading performance in a decade.

M&S is among a raft of retailers, including Next and Debenhams, due to update the City this week on trading over the crucial Christmas period.

Analysts expect sales at M&S to be down between 5.5 and 9.6 per cent, with underlying sales from fashion and homewares down as much as 10 per cent. Food sales are expected to have dropped between 5 and 10 per cent.

According to The Daily Telegraph, M&S chief executive Sir Stuart Rose may be forced to cut the retailer’s dividend next year amid dire trading.

Next is expected to fare better with a stronger margin as one of the few retailers not to go on Sale before Boxing Day.

However, Singer Equity analyst Matthew McEachran warned: “The risk of market share erosion during the December period, as a consequence of aggressive discounting elsewhere is high, even with the marked improvement to the ranges.”