Marks & Spencer's board will meet at the company's Paddington headquarters today to decide whether to cut its dividend to shareholders ahead of Tuesday’s results update.

The high street retailer is widely expected to slash its payout to shareholders, with City analysts arguing M&S has little option after six consecutive quarters of falling sales.

M&S has suffered a 40% slump in annual profits. Last year, M&S distributed £355m to investors and halving the final dividend would save more than £100m.

The mooted reduction would represent a major blow to the legion of small investors that have remained loyal to Sir Stuart Rose, the executive chairman, despite the retailer’s stalled recovery.

It would also mark a U-turn after M&S raised its dividend by 23% just 12 months ago and Rose has already voiced his reluctance to cut the payment.

Group profits are expected to come in at £600m, down from £1bn last year.

Meanwhile, high street chemist Boots is expected to reveal strong trading at its annual results tomorrow, with sales boosted by its much talked-about anti-ageing cream Protect & Perfect.