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M&S hit by slow sales

Marks & Spencer indicated that its stores in Ireland are struggling in the economic downturn.

According to figures released yesterday, the international performance of the retail giant lagged behind Britain, with sales rising just 0.9pc due to the impact of exchange rate fluctuations, as well as difficult trading conditions in markets such as Ireland and Greece.

Sales at British stores rose 3.6pc in the period ended July 3, slower than the previous quarter's 5.1pc increase. The group said pricing of its goods in the two countries was "competitive" and stock was "tightly controlled".