A middle-aged British man faced up to the horror of his biennial clothes shopping trip today.

Ian Napton, from Wiltshire, headed for his local branch of Marks and Spencer for a wallet-emptying day of buying safe, unfashionable shirts, jeans, chinos, a dressing gown and a new pair of slippers.

The trip was supervised by his wife, the long suffering Mrs Caroline Napton, who knew that her non-attendance would mean he spent the day in Costa with a newly purchased book instead.

“It wasn’t great,” said Mr Napton. “Too busy, too hot, too damned expensive. How I’ve spent £500 on navy blue trousers is beyond me. But at least I don’t have to go again until 2020, maybe 2021 if I can eek it out.”

“We have a friend’s wedding next year,” Mrs Napton interjected, “so he’ll be back again before he thinks. That’ll be an awkward day’s shopping. We love our friend, obviously, but we don’t much like her intended, so it’ll be a balance between finding something really smart and nice for our friend’s wedding, whilst not spending a fortune for an occasion we’re pretty confident will end up in a messy divorce inside five years.”

Marks and Spencer shares are up in early morning trading.