m&s_salesslump.jpgThe fashion industry is already dubbing it Marks & Spencer's version of Black Wednesday, with the British retailer suffering a dramatic plunge in sales.

Shares dropped by 32.5 per cent on the London Stock Exchange this week, with sales down across all departments between April and June. However, recently-knighted boss Sir Stuart Rose downplayed the issue as brand exclusive.

"I can't believe this is an M&S exclusive problem. I think this is definitely a retail slowdown and we don't know where it is going," he said.

Soaring fuel costs, forcing shoppers to make shorter and less frequent journeys to their local M&S, have also been blamed.

"We are seeing less traffic going to our big out of town stores and we are seeing more traffic going to our local stores, and that's something we have to react to because that's different to the patterns of traffic and trading that we have had in the preceding decade."

[Source / Image: Rex Features]