Marks & Spencer’s shares fell close to an eight-year low yesterday after broker Pali International issued a bearish note ahead of next week’s interim results.

The retailer’s price slipped 5.75p to 218.5p as more than 6 million shares were traded.

Pali analyst Nick Bubb downgraded Marks & Spencer from neutral to sell and cut his full-year forecast by£30 million to£640 million.

Bubb expects second half like-for-like sales to fall by approximately 6 per cent but fears the decline could be as much as eight per cent as tough trading conditions persist.

Bubb said: “With more downgrades and a divi cut now on the horizon, we think M&S’s rating can crack further.” He cut his target price from 225p to 175p.