Marks & Spencer said on Wednesday that sales sank in the group\'s first quarter in difficult trading conditions. Total sales fell 0.7 percent in the 13 weeks to June 20, compared with the same period of the previous financial year, M&S said in an official statement to the London Stock Exchange. Sales at British stores meanwhile slid by 0.9 percent in the company\'s first quarter. And they tumbled by 2.8 percent on a like-for-like basis, which strips out the impact of new floor space. Food sales in Britain grew 0.6 percent in the reporting period, but clothing and general merchandise slumped by 6.8 percent -- the worst performance since December 2008. \"Our food business has again performed strongly. General merchandise underperformed in a difficult trading season,\" said chief executive Marc Bolland in the earnings update. \"We are pleased with the performance in multi-channel and our key international businesses, which are continuing to make good progress.\" The weak sales performance will meanwhile increase pressure on Bolland at the company\'s annual meeting later today, amid growing expectations that many shareholders will vote against his large pay package.