M&S sales and profits fall amid shake-up

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Marks & Spencer has reported a a fall in both sales and profits as it continues to implement a major turnaround programme.

Pre-tax profits were down by nearly 10% in the year to 31 March, at £523.2m.

Like-for-like sales, which strip out the impact of new stores, were down by 2.9% for the group as a whole.

Boss Steve Rowe said the firm was making “good progress” and judging itself as much on the “pace of change” as by the trading outcomes.

The retailer is part of the way though a store closure programme which will see it shut 100 shops by 2022.

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

Clothing and home sales were 1.6% lower, while UK like-for-like sales were down by 2%.

Total sales were 3.6% lower because of the store closures.

Mr Rowe said: “We are deep into the first phase of our transformation programme and continue to make good progress restoring the basics and fixing many of the legacy issues we face.

“As I have said, at this stage we are judging ourselves as much by the pace of change as by the trading outcomes and change will accelerate in the year ahead.”

However, he added that although there had been “green shoots”, the retailer had “not been consistent in our delivery” in a number of areas.

“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.

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