Global economy and fashionThe financial pinch that will define fashion in 2009 is starting to be felt.

WWD is reporting that Marks & Spencer’s shares dropped 32.5 percent on Wednesday after the British retailer announced like-for-like sales fell sharply across all key categories.

The company released a trading update a week early after Stuart Rose, chairman of M&S, said sales had encountered a further slowdown over the past three weeks. “We’ve seen pretty volatile trading April, May and June,” said Rose during a conference call Wednesday.

On a like-for-like basis, U.K. sales declined 5.3 percent, while general merchandise sales, which include clothing, dropped 6.2 percent.

The drop is fashion sales at Marks & Spencer has thus far been largely blamed on the global economic slow down, something I’ve tipped to be a major factor in fashion sales in 2009.

True to my original thoughts, the Marks and Spencer slow down highlights the lack of financial fluidity now being felt by the middle and lower classes. Only time will tell what the affect may be felt, if any, on the luxury purchases made by the upper classes.

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