Sunday 18 March 2018

Marks & Spencer profits dragged down by clothing

A Marks & Spencer store
A Marks & Spencer store
The Marks and Spencer range

Marks & Spencer has reported a fall in annual profits for the third year in a row as a drop in clothing sales offset growth in food.

Britain's biggest high street clothing retailer said that underlying pre-tax profits dropped by 4pc to £623m in the year to the end of the March.

The drop in profits was driven by a 1.4pc fall in like-for-like general merchandise sales, which is primarily clothing. Like-for-like food sales grew by 1.7pc, meaning that UK like-for-like sales actually increased by 0.2pc for M&S overall.

Marc Bolland, chief executive, insisted there were "early signs of improvement" in M&S's general merchandise division. The company has overhauled its clothing range and claims it is putting a greater focus on quality.

The company also moved to appease investors by confirming that capital expenditure will fall to between £500m and £550m this year, while profit margins are also expected to improve.

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