Like for likes up 2%
High street giant Marks & Spencer's total sales were up 7 per cent in the 13 weeks to June 30, but its like-for-like growth eased.

Its UK sales rose 6.4 per cent, with like-for-likes up 2 per cent. The retailer said this was achieved against strong comparatives and at a time when trading space was disrupted by store refurbishment.

In clothing, overall sales were up 3.5 per cent and general merchandise rose 4.3 per cent. Sales of homewares jumped 13.4 per cent and food sales increased 8.5 per cent, with further growth in market share. General merchandise like-for-likes were up 2.9 per cent and food sales rose 0.7 per cent.

The group opened 33 Simply Food stores in the quarter, including 21 on BP forecourts.

M&S said that international performed well over the period, with sales up 14.8 per cent. The group opened 10 stores during the quarter, including its first outlets in Lithuania, Taiwan and Ukraine.

The retailer said its store modernisation programme is on track and it aims to have 70 per cent of the portfolio completed in time for the critical Christmas period. It added that M&S Direct is making good progress and continues to drive traffic and conversion.

M&S chief executive Stuart Rose said: 'Rising interest rates, general uncertainty over consumer spending and extreme weather conditions combined to make market conditions particularly volatile over the quarter.

'We believe that the short-term trading environment will remain very challenging, but our plans are unchanged. We are confident that our focus on product, service and environment and our investment in the brand will ensure we continue to make progress.'

Pali Research analyst Nick Bubb said: 'Today's sales are a bit disappointing, given the strong BRC Retail Sales outcome for June, but they are not as bad as expected.'