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M&S's non-food sales fall for 11th straight quarter


British retailer Marks & Spencer's non-food sales fell for an eleventh consecutive quarter, the firm said on Thursday, increasing the pressure on management to explain why heavy investment has not yet delivered an anticipated turnaround.

The UK's biggest clothing retailer, which also sells homewares and food, said sales of non-food products, spanning clothing, footwear and homewares, at stores open over a year fell 0.6 percent in the 13 weeks to March 29, its fiscal fourth quarter.

Paul Thomas | Bloomberg | Getty Images

That compared with analysts' forecasts in a range of down 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent, a third quarter decline of 2.1 percent which included the key Christmas period, and a fall of 3.8 percent in the same period last year.

Within the non-food like-for-like figure M&S said clothing like-for-like sales rose 0.6 percent.

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M&S's food business, which contributes over half of group sales but less profit, is performing better, though even here growth slowed.

Its sales on the same basis rose 0.1 percent versus analysts' forecasts in a range of flat to up 0.5 percent and a third quarter rise of 1.6 percent.

M&S: 'Heavy discounting' boosted clothing

M&S's performance was held back by Easter not falling in its fourth quarter, as it did last year.

Adjusting for the impact of later Easter timing, like-for-like food sales were up 1.8 percent M&S said.

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