Marks and Spencer has seen an upturn in its profit outlook during the 19 weeks up to 14 August, and now predicts an adjusted profit before tax for the year to be above the upper end of previous guidance of £300-350m.
The retailer said it comes as food revenues increased 10.8% on last year and 9.6% on 2019/20.
At the start of the year, continued restrictions across large parts of the M&S store portfolio meant that the trading outlook was highly uncertain. Since then, the company “has seen an encouraging performance providing confirmation that the transformation programme is on track.”
The increase is attributed to cost reduction programmes, which “are helping to mitigate cost inflation and disruption in the supply chain, and the cost of increased colleague absence in the period.”
It added that its Clothing and home section also experienced good recovery in its performance, with revenue up 92.2% on last year and down just -2.6% on 2019/20. A smaller summer sale is seen as a contributing factor.
The pivot to online continued, with store sales down -19.8% on 2019/20 as many locations remain in slow recovery from the pandemic, although retail parks have outperformed.
It also confirmed International revenue was up 39.7% on last year and down only -5.2% on 2019/20 despite the impact of lockdown in India in the early part of the financial year and substantial Brexit related effects on the supply of Food to its businesses in the Republic of Ireland and France.