M&S CEO Marc Bolland Under Pressure as Clothing Sales Fall for 10th Quarter
M&S CEO Marc Bolland Under Pressure as Clothing Sales Fall for 10th QuarterReuters

Marks and Spencer's CEO Marc Bolland is under renewed pressure to turnaround the business after it unveiled a fall in clothing sales for the 10th consecutive quarter.

According to the group's third quarter trading update, M&S cut its UK gross margin guidance for the full 2013-14 year after having previously issued guidance of a rise of 30 to 50 basis points. However, it avoided a formal profit warning thanks to a solid performance from food.

During the fiscal third quarter, sales of non-food products, spanning clothing, footwear and homewares fell 2.1%. M&S's food business, which contributes over half of group sales rose by 1.6% in line with analysts' expectations.

Bolland said: "The step-by-step approach to improve our general merchandise is slowly improving but we have always said that it will be step-by-step."

"Our market share has been stabilised over the quarter and it has even been for womenswear slightly improved."

Last summer, Bolland received near-unanimous shareholder backing, to return as the group's director, despite overseeing two consecutive years of falling profits and grabbing a bumper remuneration package.

The M&S boss pocketed a £2.14m (€2.47m, $3.18m) pay packet in 2013, including a bonus of £829,000.