M&S sales and profits fall amid shake-up

22 Mai, 2019, 15:22 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • M&S store front

M&S said part of the reason for its steep fall in profits was £222m in extra costs from the "acceleration and extension" of its United Kingdom store closure programme.

Marks & Spencer asked today to be judged on how it is changing as much as its financial results, as the British retailer reported a third drop in annual profits in a row. It plans a further 85 closures of full-line stores and 25 closures of Simply Food stores this year.

Marks & Spencer chief executive Steve Rowe said: "We are deep into the first phase of our transformation programme and continue to make good progress restoring the basics and fixing numerous legacy issues we face".

Steve Rowe said there were "green shoots" of a turnaround, but added that performance was not consistent and had been hit by its store closure programme and wide-ranging revamp plan.

It said the food closures come as it focuses efforts on larger Simply Food shops with parking access, which will mean shutting and relocating smaller, less busy outlets.

Clothing and home sales were 1.6% lower, dented by the timing of Easter and poor stock availability, while United Kingdom like-for-like sales were down by 2%.

"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", Rowe said.

Like-for-like sales in its food halls fell by 2.3%, although M&S said this was affected by the timing of Easter.

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And comparable clothing and home sales have dropped 1.6%, with total sales being 3.6% lower.

"Whilst there are green shoots, we have not been consistent in our delivery in a number of areas of the business".

"However, we remain on track with our transformation and are now well on the road to making M&S special again".

Dividend per share fell 25 per cent from 18.7p to 13.9p.

However, M&S shares were down 4% today, extending year-on-year losses to 11%, as it also announced the terms of a discounted rights issue to partly fund a joint venture with online grocer Ocado announced in February.

The retailer said it closed 26 full-time stores and opened 48 new stores in the year.

Chief executive Steve Rowe said: "Our strategy is as much about right sizing, relocating and new openings as it is about closures".

Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, said: "The results give proof, if it were needed, that M&S required a significant shot in the arm to give it relevance in the modern day".

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