Marks & Spencer has said it is taking "decisive action" to remedy the costly mistakes that left it nursing a 10% drop in half-year profits.
The high street bellwether reported pre-tax profits of £290 million in the six months to September 29, down from £321 million a year ago as it paid the price for failing to stock-up on best-selling womenswear ranges earlier in the year.
M&S said there were better signs in the run up to Christmas, with like-for-like non-food sales falling by a better-than-feared 1.8% in the second quarter - a marked improvement on the 6.8% slide seen in the first three months, which was its worst performance for more than three years.
The group said it was taking bolder moves to back key fashion trends, which was already paying off as it sold 44,000 military coats in the half-year.
It has also overhauled its general merchandise team and hired new managers, including drafting in former Debenhams and Jaeger boss Belinda Earl to revitalise womenswear in the newly-created role of style director.
But under-pressure chief executive Marc Bolland warned recent trading had been "volatile" and the second half of the year would be tough as retailers up the ante with promotions.
He added that customers would only fully start to see the benefits of its management reshuffle after next year's spring and summer ranges, which have already been chosen by the previous team. Shares in the group rose nearly 2% as the figures came in slightly above expectations in the City.
Analysts at Singer Capital Markets said the figures suggested M&S was beginning to turn the corner: "M&S has been dogged by ranging and buying issues over the last few quarters, part of which may have stemmed from management uncertainties and today's update suggests they are taking control in this regard after securing a new team."
Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said while the group was showing "promising signs" from its revival efforts, its recent management changes were also "disruptive".
On an underlying basis, profits fell to £297 million from £307 million a year earlier. Total like-for-like sales were down 1.4% over the first half as the non-food decline offset a better performance in its food division, which saw sales rise by 1.6% on a like-for-like basis in the second quarter.