- Marks & Spencer reported a 2.2% drop in total like-for-like UK sales in the 13 weeks to 29 December, but left its full-year guidance unchanged.

Food sales fell 2.1% over the period, while clothing and homeware sales decreased by 2.4%, reflecting lower footfall to stores, partly as a result of the increasing pace of closures.

However, the company reported online growth of 14%, driven by improvements to proposition and operations.

"Against the backdrop of well-publicised difficult market conditions our performance remained steady across the period," said Steve Rowe, Chief Executive.

The company said its food business had traded successfully over the Christmas period and that its transformation programme remained on track.

The combination of reducing consumer confidence, mild weather, Black Friday, and widespread discounting by its competitors had made November a "very challenging" trading period, it said.

Despite the drop in total sales, M&S said that, overall, its 13-week performance was "steady with some early encouraging signs".

At 8:32am: [LON:MKS] Marks Spencer Group PLC share price was -2.95p at 274.75p

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