UK like-for-like sales at Marks & Spencer rose just 2% in the first quarter, the retailer announced this morning. The figure compares to growth of 8.2% a year ago, and the increase is the lowest for almost two years.
Like-for-likes at the company’s general merchandise division rose 2.9% during the period but food sales improved by just 0.7%.
UK sales overall, taking account of all stores, increased 6.4%: home products were up 13.4%, clothing 3.5% and food 8.5%.
Chief executive Stuart Rose said: “Rising interest rates, general uncertainty over consumer spending, and extreme weather conditions combined to make market conditions particularly volatile over the quarter. We believe that the short-term trading environment will remain very challenging.”