Food sales up in first quarter
Marks & Spencer issued lacklustre figures for its first quarter today.

In a statement before the retailer's annual general meeting, chief executive Stuart Rose highlighted the progress made in markdowns and stock management.

However, trading in most areas was poor. General merchandise sales were down 11.2 per cent in the 14 weeks to July 9 and clothing sales fell 9.2 per cent in the same period.

One of the few pieces of good news was food, with sales up 5 per cent. Overall like-for-like sales were down 5.4 per cent and total sales down 3.1 per cent.

Rose said: 'Our focus remains full price profitable sales, improving our financial performance through margin, cost and markdown management. This has enabled us to delay the summer Sale by 18 days. We go on Sale tomorrow with 40 per cent less stock than last year.'