Marks & Spencer has suffered a further market share decline in the crucial fashion category, it is understood.

Kantar data showed the retailer’s total fashion market share slipped by 0.4 percentage points in the 12 weeks to February 16, the Financial Times reported. That was an acceleration of the 0.2 point fall in the 24 weeks to the same date.

Marks & Spencer’s womenswear share was down 0.5 points over 12 weeks and by 0.2 points over 24 weeks.

The changes prompted M&S’s joint broker Citi, as well as Nomura, to forecast a fall rather than a rise in underlying clothing sales over the retailer’s final quarter.

Citi cut its full-year profit forecast from £630m to £615m and Nomura moved from £632m to £614m.

The floods that hit many parts of the country and the late timing of Mother’s Day and Easter may have affected M&S’s final quarter, and clothing retail sales were generally weak in February, industry sources said.