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Department Stores

M&S sales and profits fall as turnaround continues

Marks and Spencer has reported a fall in both sales and profits, with the latter down nearly 10%, as it continues its turnaround plan.

The embattled retailer revealed in the year ending 31 March pre-tax profits before one off items were £523.2m, down from £580.9m the previous year. Marks and Spencer attributed the fall to increased headwinds on sales, partly offset by the operating costs of its transformation programme.

The company also reported like-for-like sales were down 2.9% and LFL sales at its food halls declined by 2.3% – adjusted to 1.5% when the delayed timing of Easter was factored in.

Overall group revenue was also down 3% to £10.3bn compared with £10.6bn the previous year, with revenues hit by the impact of store closures. It follows the news earlier this week the company is to speed up its store closure plans by two years, as it looks to close 100 stores by 2020.

Despite this Steve Rowe, Marks and Spencer CEO said M&S is starting to see some “green shoots” and is “on track” with its turnaround plan.

He said: “We are deep into the first phase of our transformation programme and continue to make good progress restoring the basics and fixing many of the legacy issues we face. As I have said, at this stage we are judging ourselves as much by the pace of change as by the trading outcomes and change will accelerate in the year ahead.

“Whilst there are green shoots, we have not been consistent in our delivery in a number of areas of the business. M&S is changing faster than at any time in my career – substantial changes across the business to our processes, ranges and operations and this has constrained this year’s performance, particularly in Clothing & Home. However, we remain on track with our transformation and are now well on the road to making M&S special again.”

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