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Today’s news in brief-30/5/24

Marks & Spencer (M&S) has appointed Alison Dolan as its new chief financial officer, succeeding interim CFO Jeremy Townsend, who will remain until May 2025. Dolan, currently the CFO at Rightmove, brings extensive experience from roles at News UK and Sky. M&S CEO Stuart Machin praised Dolan’s background in fast-paced, digitally-led businesses, anticipating her significant contributions to M&S’s ongoing transformation.

Asda has launched a £50m store upgrade program to enhance the design and shopping experience in 170 stores, with major upgrades in 50 larger locations. These enhancements include new George departments, food-to-go services, and improved interiors and exteriors. The initiative, beginning at the Long Eaton store in Nottingham, aims to complete by November.

Clarks has reported a £39.8m loss for the year ending December 2023, a significant decline from a £35.9m profit in 2022. The loss is attributed to restructuring costs, increased bad debt provisions, and a substantial impairment charge on store assets. Despite a slight revenue increase to £994.5m, weak demand in full-price channels, underperforming Western outlet stores, and reduced wholesale demand contributed to the loss.

Dr Martens is targeting £25m in cost savings following a 43% drop in pre-tax profits to £97 million for the year ending March 2024. The company’s revenues fell by 12% to £877m, with declines in ecommerce and wholesale revenues, particularly in the US market. However, direct-to-consumer (DTC) revenue rose by 2%, driven by USA wholesale. The company aims to return to growth by FY26 through increased marketing investment and targeted cost reductions.

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Abercrombie & Fitch reported a 22% increase in net sales to $1bn for the first quarter ending May 2024, marking its highest first-quarter net sales in history. Operating income surged to $130m, up from $34m in the previous year. The brand’s revenues grew significantly in the Americas, EMEA, and APAC regions. Abercrombie’s sales rose by 31%, and Hollister’s by 12%. CEO Fran Horowitz attributed the strong performance to effective brand execution, inventory management, and strategic investments in stores, digital, and technology. The company expects continued growth, projecting mid-teens net sales growth for the second quarter and around 10% for the full year.

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