Marks & Spencer sales down 3.1% as it works through transformation plan
Marks & Spencer saw its group revenue fall by 3.1% in the first half of its financial year after trading was impacted by this year’s timing of Easter and an acceleration in its store closure programme.
In the 26 weeks to 29 September, like-for like sales in M&S's food business were down 2.9% following “tough” trading and the retailer’s actions to retore “trusted value” by offering fewer promotions and lowering prices.
Like-for-like sales in its clothing and home business edged down 1.1% although the retailer said online sales in its clothing category were ahead of the market.
Meanwhile pre-tax profit increased by 7.1% to £126.7 million.
Looking at its international business, M&S reported that revenue decreased by 18.4% at constant currency. This was mainly due to the sale of the retailer’s business in Hong Kong to a franchise partner last December. Excluding Hong Kong and exit markets, revenue grew by 1.6% at constant currency.
During the period, M&S introduced a new management structure under the direction of a substantially new leadership team. It also focused on modernising and improving its supply chains.
Steve Rowe, M&S chief executive, said: “In May I set out in our “Facing the Facts” presentation, the challenges we face and the steps we are taking in this the first phase of our transformation programme. Against the background of profound structural change in our industry, we are leaving no stone unturned and reshaping our business, its organisation and culture.
“We are on track to restructure our store portfolio with over 100 full-line closures and expect to see newly remodelled stores open next year. We are fixing the basics of our online channel and there are very early signs of improvement. Every aspect of our ranges, how we trade, our supply chain and marketing is undergoing scrutiny and change.“
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