Marks and Spencer has blamed “inconsistent execution” across key categories and events for a 1.4% drop in fourth quarter like-for-like food sales.

For the 11 weeks to March 27 total like-for-like sales fell 3.4% with food down 1.4%.

Overall like-for-like food sales for the year were up 1.6% while non-food sales fell 1.8%.

M&S said a lack of consistency in their food offering in terms of advertising, promotional activity and availability impacted on results, despite their Simply Food and Food stores making their product more accessible to more customers.

The company has opened 74 Simply Food and Food stores and intends to add 500,000 sq ft of new food space by 2005/06.

M&S chief executive Roger Holmes, said: “Sales this quarter are clearly not good enough. We are taking action on a number of fronts to accelerate the transformation of the business and deliver improved performance.”

In a bid to boost clothing sales the company has made changes to its management team with Vittorio Radice, general merchandise and Mark McKeon retailer director taking up their posts recently.

M&S have also added to the womenswear buying teams, including key roles in smartwear, knitwear and casualwear.