By Jonathan Davies

Marks and Spencer has reported a drop in clothes sales for the 13th consecutive quarter after warm weather in September.

Like-for-like sales of general merchandise, with is mainly the retailer's clothing, fell by 4% in its second quarter compared with the previous year.

Marks & Spencer blamed "unseasonable conditions in September" for the fall in sales. It's not the first clothing retailer to have been hit by the unusually warm weather. Next has said its sales have been affected as well, with people not buying winter clothes as a result.

There was a slight increase in like-for-like food sales, however. But the growth of 0.2% was much weaker than the 1.7% rise seen in the first quarter.

Half-year pre-tax profit fell 0.4% to £279.4m, but underlying profits rose 2.3% to £267.6m.

Online sales were down 4.6%, but this was an improvement compared with the 8.1% drop last quarter. Marks & Spencer launched a brand new website in February on a completely different platform which usually causes a drop in sales.

M&S chief executive Marc Bolland said: "We are pleased with the progress we have made against out key priorities for the year: general merchandise gross margin, improving womenswear, driving food growth and cash generation."

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