Marks & Spencer sales have fallen for the six months to 26 September but the company plans to concentrate on increasing food sales.
Over that period, UK like-for-like sales fell by 0.4% and the sales of general merchandise were down by 1.2%. This includes the clothing section of the company.
However, Marks & Spencer said that underlying profits rose by 6.1%, showing a total of £284 million. Once the one-off items were taken into account, pre-tax profits fell 22.7% to £216 million.
The retailer said that trading conditions were difficult because of the high levels of promotions in the first quarter due to unseasonal conditions.
M&S could be at a turning point if they concentrate on increasing food sales, gross margins and cash generation as planned. The chief executive Marc Bolland said he has focused on making sure that margins are improved and sold fewer items on promotion.
International sales were also affected because sales fell 0.9%, which excludes currency movements.
There is a lot more competition on the high street, especially with Christmas just around the corner but the good news is hat M&S profit margins at its non-food business had risen by 2.85 percentage points.