Marks & Spencer's director of clothing is to quit after the retailer announced a bigger-than-expected fall in sales during the Christmas trading period.
The company fears a drop in sales may hit market share
Underlying sales of non-food items fell 4.5% in the three months to 10 January, worse than forecasts of a 2.5% drop.
Total clothing sales fell by 3.3% and the retailer announced that clothing director David Norgrove is to leave.
Chief executive Roger Holmes said the performance was "disappointing", with womenswear sales especially poor.
However, despite the slide in sales, M&S said profit margins had been protected.
The company also reported a 0.7% rise in like-for-like food sales - which strip out of the effects of new store openings - during the festive period.
No replacement was named for Mr Norgrove, who the company said is to leave "in due course".
Until an appointment is made he will remain on the board, focusing on improving supply chain efficiency, the UK's largest clothing retailer said.
Chief executive Roger Holmes said the "disappointing" performance in clothing sales was driven by a weak performance in certain key womenswear areas where the firm's ranges were "not strong enough".
He also added that the warm weather had significant impact.
Mr Holmes warned that he expected the company to have lost market share in clothing during the period.
Market share fears
Given the problems identified with ranges and the loss of customers, he could not guarantee an instant turnaround, he added.
M&S had seen its market share recover to around 11%, after falling to 10% from 13% in the late 1990s, but has not seen any gains in the past nine months.
Rival retailer Next reported better-than-expected sales growth during the Christmas period - sparking increasing speculation that customers are deserting M&S.
Mr Holmes added he would be looking to home furnishings, food and financial services to drive future sales growth.
Despite the bad news, shares in M&S closed up 2p at 276.25p.
Meanwhile, discount clothing retailer Matalan said it had a disappointing Christmas, with like-for-like sales down 5%.
The group said it experienced difficult trading conditions in the Christmas approach, and began discounting before the
Total sales in the five weeks to 10 January were up 5.5% against 15.6% last year, while the 5% fall in like-for-likes contrasted with a rise of 1% previously.
The group said that despite an earlier and heavier level of price-cutting than last year, stock clearance had been unsatisfactory, and extra clearance activity would be needed.