M&S reveals falling sales and profits amid overhaul
Retail giant Marks & Spencer has posted a 10% drop in annual profits due to falling sales across its clothing arm and food halls as a sweeping overhaul takes its toll.
The high street bellwether posted underlying pre-tax profits of £523.2 million for the year to March 30, down from £580.9 million the previous year.
Boss 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.
The group warned that it remained in the “difficult early stages” of its turnaround and progress will largely not come until the second half of 2019-20.
Comparable sales in its troubled womenswear arm dropped 1.6% after a 1.3% fall in the final three months, after it was hit by the timing of Easter and poor stock availability.
Like-for-like sales in its food halls fell 2.3% following a 1.5% decline in the fourth quarter, although this was also affected by the timing of Easter.
Mr Rowe said: “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 and home.
“However, we remain on track with our transformation and are now well on the road to making M&S special again.”