British retailer Marks & Spencer said on Tuesday underlying sales in its non-food business slipped in its first quarter, a setback for the group after a return to growth in the previous three months.
The 131-year-old firm said sales of general merchandise, spanning clothing, footwear and homewares, at stores open over a year fell 0.4 percent in the 13 weeks to June 27.
That compares to analysts forecasts in a range of flat to down 2.5 percent, with a consensus of down 1 percent, and growth of 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of M&S’ 2014-15 year, the division’s first growth in nearly four years.
The outcome reflected “a challenging and promotional quarter”, M&S said.
However, it said the division remained on track to deliver full year gross margin growth of 150-200 basis points.
First quarter like-for-like sales in M&S’s food business rose 0.3 percent, a 23rd straight quarterly rise.
M&S said all other full-year guidance remains unchanged.