Marks & Spencer delivers strong first half
Marks & Spencer has posted a strong uplift in half-year sales and profit as its turnaround gathers pace.
In the six months to 30 September, the retailer’s pre-tax profit before adjusting items was £360.2 million compared to £205.5 million a year earlier. Meanwhile, statutory pre-tax profit increased to £325.6 million from a prior £208.5 million.
Food sales jumped by 14.7%, with like-for-like sales up 11.7%, as the retailer invested in value, product innovation, and quality upgrades.
Clothing and home sales grew by 5.7%, or by 5.5% on a like-for-like basis, as it benefited from “more confident” buying and strong sales in categories such as holiday and denim. .
M&S said its structural cost reduction programme is on track with savings of over £100 million delivered in the first half. The retailer is currently accelerating its store rotation programme as it works towards a target of having 180 full line stores and 400 M&S-operated food stores in growth locations by FY28.
Stuart Machin, M&S chief executive, said: “Our strategy to reshape M&S for growth has delivered strong results in the first half. We have maintained our relentless focus on trusted value, giving our customers exceptional quality product at the best possible price.
“In food, we delivered over 500 quality upgrades and invested over £30 million in price, lowering the price of 200 products and locking prices on 150 customer favourites. Our lead on quality perception widened and value perception continued to improve.
“In clothing and home we backed lines with authority across core and seasonal product, maintaining our lead on quality and value perception and improving our style credentials. As a result, we’ve sold more product and served more customers across food and clothing and home, with both businesses outperforming the market.”
M&S said the outlook for the second half remains uncertain due to the potential impact of the high interest rates, geopolitical events, and erratic weather. It therefore expects pre-tax profit before adjusting items to be weighted towards the first half.
Machin added: “Looking ahead, trading momentum has been maintained through October, with customers responding positively to our Christmas ranges. There will be challenges and headwinds in the year ahead and progress won’t be linear, but we are ambitious for future growth and are driving what is in our control.”
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