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.