Marks & Spencer, the UK retailer, said today (20 May) that it was “cautious” about its prospects over the next 12 months despite seeing a rise in annual profits.

The warning came as M&S said like-for-like sales in the UK had fallen 1.7% over the last three months – the second successive quarter in which sales had fallen.

The fall led M&S to report that like-for-like sales in its domestic market dipped 0.5% during the year to 29 March. UK food sales fell 0.4%.

Across the group, revenue rose 5.1% to GBP9bn (US$17.6bn), driving 4.3% climb in underlying pre-tax profit to GBP1bn.

Chief executive Sir Stuart Rose insisted M&S had had a “good year”. However, he added: “Trading for the first seven weeks of the year has been mixed. April was, as expected, a difficult month, reflecting dramatically different weather patterns compared with the same period last year. May to date has shown a marked improvement although we remain cautious about consumer sentiment.”