A woman passes a sign outside a Marks & Spencer stall
A woman passes a sign outside a Marks & Spencer stall.

Shares in Marks & Spencer were down on the FTSE 100 in afternoon trading ahead of the retailer's fourth quarter update, expected tomorrow.

In January the group reported a 2.8 per cent rise in third quarter like for like sales, with general merchandise sales rising 3.8 per cent and food up 1.8 per cent.

Internationally M&S saw sales rise 4.5 per cent while the group's online operations reported a rise in sales of 25 per cent.

Keith Bowman, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said, "A recent food retailing survey from market research group Kantar suggests that like for like food sales may have been similar to Q3. However recent updates from Next and John Lewis suggest that General Merchandise sales are likely to have come under some downward pressure. Ahead of the update, market consensus opinion currently denotes a strong hold."

By 16:05 shares in Marks & Spencer were down 0.61 per cent on the FTSE 100 to 340.20 pence per share.