Marks & Spencer has launched a new clothing range that will target fashion-conscious over-45 shoppers.

The new range, dubbed Portfolio, is scheduled to hit shelves in February and will be priced between the high street giant’s Per Una and Classics ranges.

“This is core womenswear,” said M&S head of clothing Kate Bostock. “It will fill a gap we've spotted for the 45-plus customer.”

Meanwhile, chief executive Sir Stuart Rose warned that the group faced a testing Christmas period.

“I think we're OK but it's going to be tough,” Rose said at the opening of London’s new Westfield shopping centre, where M&S and Waitrose have both launched stores. “People are looking for quality, they are buying usable stuff, not frivolities, but they also want to treat themselves. Hopefully we will have a decent Christmas.”

He added: “We're losing market share in food, it's well known. [But] only a fool would reduce quality standards – if you do that you're dead.”