Marks & Spencer suffered another quarter of falling underlying sales in both clothing and food, underscoring its long and uncertain road to recovery. 

The 135-year-old retail chain said today that same-store clothing and homewares sales fell 2.4% in the 13 weeks to December 29, its fiscal third quarter. 

That compared with analysts' mean forecast for a fall of 1.6% and a second quarter drop of 1.6%.

Same-store food sales fell 2.1% compared to analysts' consensus forecast of a fall of 2.5%t and a 2.7% drop fall in the previous quarter. 

Marks & Spencer, which has been struggling for years with competition from fast-food, online and discount rivals, said its full-year guidance was unchanged. 

"Against the backdrop of well publicised difficult market conditions our performance remained steady across the period," chief executive Steve Rowe said in a statement. 

UK's retail stocks have been rattled by signs of a slowdown in spending amid uncertainty whether the country will manage an orderly withdrawal from the European Union in less than three months' time. 

After over a decade of failed turnaround plans, M&S is now targeting sustainable, profitable growth in three to five years by shutting weaker stores, re-shaping its clothing and food businesses, cutting costs and investing in technology. 

It warned in November sales were unlikely to improve any time soon. 

Before today's update, analysts' average forecast was for M&S to make pretax profit before one off items of £523m in the year to March, down from £580.9m in 2017-18. 

That would be a third year of decline in a row, with a fourth forecast for 2019-20. 

M&S shares are down 12% over the last year.