M&S slashed prices on 200 lines before Christmas, but Mr Rowe said the group had not been competitive enough on everyday lines.
The retailer also said food sales were down, by 0.4%, for the 13 weeks to 30 December - though both figures were slightly better than the City had expected.
Just today, fashion retailers announce sales revenues 10-25% higher over the Christmas period, as companies both young (Boohoo) and old (Ted Baker) see bumper demand, further projecting the image of the cash conscious United Kingdom consumer wanting bang for their buck, especially at yuletide.
"We had a mixed quarter that started off with a challenging October but got better on both sides of the business in the run-up to Christmas", said Rowe.
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However, the impact of an unseasonal October resulted in an overall revenue decline, and more stock was carried into the December sale as a result.
"We delivered an excellent operational performance across the group, with great availability, strong customer satisfaction scores and our lowest level of waste ever at Christmas", said Mike Coupe, CEO of Sainsbury's.
Over in the U.S., the major indices closed lower across the board for the first time in 2018 on reports that China was reviewing its policy of buying U.S. treasuries.
Supermarket giant Tesco has emerged as a festive victor of the Big Four, reporting a steep rise in sales over the Christmas trading period.
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The declines reported were still not as steep as some feared after profit warnings from the likes of Debenhams, Moss Bros and Mothercare.
In November, M&S said it would speed up store closures, relocations and downsizings and re-position its food offer, including slowing down openings of "Simply Food" stores.
Worldwide sales during the quarter declined 9.8 percent to 309 million pounds (416.6 million dollars), while M&S.com sales of 309 million pounds improved 3 percent. The engineering firm said that changes in USA taxes will result in a one-off non-cash tax credit for 2017. Their signature luxury products are being undercut by bargain supermarkets at a fraction of the price.
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