Retail giant Marks & Spencer today reported its worst quarterly trading for more than two years as it revealed a 2.2 per cent drop in Christmas sales.

M&S boss Sir Stuart Rose - knighted in the New Year Honours list - said market conditions became tougher in November and December as he unveiled the drop in third quarter like-for-like sales - the group's first in nine quarters.

He also warned of difficult trading to come in 2008, confirming fears of a consumer spending slowdown on the high street.

For full story see Thursday's Daily Echo.