22/05/2012 03:40 BST | Updated 21/07/2012 06:12 BST

Marks And Spencer's Sales Drop 1.8% In First Profit Fall For Three Years

Marks & Spencer boss Marc Bolland slashed his sales targets for the high street retailer on Tuesday as he unveiled its first fall in profits in three years.

Despite efforts to pull in customers with celebrity-laden advertising campaigns, featuring the likes of actresses Joanna Lumley and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and actor Ryan Reynolds, like-for-like sales of general merchandise fell 1.8% in the last year.

The decline was driven by a mixed performance in womenswear and home, with the latter impacted by the company's decision to exit the technology market.

Helped by a stronger performance in food, M&S saw underlying pre-tax profits drop 1% to £705.9m in the year to March 31, while total sales grew 2% to £9.9bn.

In November 2010, Bolland set a target to grow revenues by between £1.5bn and £2.5bn over three years but as a result of the harsh economic climate has cut this target to between £1.1bn and £1.7bn.

In addition, Bolland said the group now expected to invest £200m less in its UK stores over the remaining two years of its strategy review.