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Marks and Spencer said like-for-like sales at its clothing arm fell by 8.9% in the first quarter, as a “weak market” and fewer promotions hit sales.

Meanwhile, like-for-like food sales in the quarter were down by 0.9%.

In May the firm’s new boss Steve Rowe unveiled plans to revive the retailer’s clothing and homeware business, with lower clothing prices and better style.

The firm said consumer confidence weakened in the run up to the June 23 European Union referendum in the UK. But it said it was too early to quantify the implications of Brexit.

Marks and Spencer also said that this year its summer sale began on 5 July, two weeks later than in 2015, a move that would reduce total sales.

“We continued to reduce the number of promotional events during the quarter, including just one ‘cyber day’ compared with six last year,” it said, adding that it had repriced some 1,000 clothing lines since January.

 

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