M&S annual profit falls as food margins are squeezed

M&S annual profit falls as food margins are squeezed

M&S annual profit falls as food margins are squeezed

Pre-tax profit meanwhile dived more than 62 per cent to 67 million pound, while total sales firmed 0.7 per cent to 10.7 billion pound.

"This latest wave of closures will feel like a body blow to locations that are already under pressure" says the BBC's Emma Simpson, "but the hard truth is that M&S has more stores than it needs, given our changing shopping habits" and many experts believe that closing a large swathe of stores "is a tough but necessary step".

Marks & Spencer (M&S), one of the best known names in United Kingdom retail, first said it would reduce the amount of store space devoted to clothing and homewares in 2016, shortly after company lifer Steve Rowe became chief executive.

"In the previous year traditional retailers like Marks have faced a ideal storm of rising costs, a constrained consumer, and the relentless growth of online competition". That figure dropped by 5.4pc to £580.9m, with the City predicting a steeper fall to £572.6m.

Marks & Spencer also says that "the acceleration of M&S's United Kingdom store estate programme is part of M&S's wider five-year transformation plan".

"The first phase of our transformation plan, restoring the basics, is now well under way and the actions taken have increased the velocity of change running through our business".

Currently, around 18 percent of M&S' clothing and home sales are made online.

"These, together with a challenging United Kingdom consumer market, mean that we have to modernise our business to ensure we are competitive and reignite our culture", it said.

The company was particularly slow to get its online operations into gear and has admitted its website remains "slow".

"The team is now tackling transforming our culture to make M&S a faster, lower cost, more commercial, more digital business".

With core revenues being tightly regulated, there's not much scope for results of the water companies to stray too far from expectations, so upcoming changes to regulation are likely to be the focus when Severn Trent issues its finals.

"This is vital as we start to leverage the strength of the M&S brand and values across a family of businesses to deliver sustainable, profitable growth in three to five years".

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