Struggling UK food and clothing retailer Marks & Spencer has reported another drop in quarterly sales and said first-half profit would be in line with market forecasts.

Total sales fell 1.8% in the 12 weeks to 2 October 2004, compared to the 12 weeks to 27 September 2003. Like-for-like sales slid 5.5%. Food sales rose 2.9% over the same period, but like-for-like food sales fell 2.8%.

Marks & Spencer said unaudited group profit before tax and exceptionals for the 26 weeks to 2 October 2004 is expected to be between £285m (US$509.4m) and £295m compared with £325m for the same period last year. This is within the range of current market forecasts, the company said.