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M&S profits rise as it braces for ‘challenging’ year ahead

Marks and Spencer (M&S) has announced an increase in profits as the retailer reports “stand-out” performance across its clothing division.

The company described trading in the first half as “robust” with both the company’s businesses growing ahead of the market.

The business saw pre-tax profits jump by 11 per cent to nearly £209 million in the past six months, with clothing and home sales increasing by 14 per cent.

M&S said that its app now accounts for over a third of its online clothing and home sales.

The retailer's food business saw "top-line growth" but short term profit was reduced.

The department store said that its purchase of Gist in July has given it more control over costs.

The logistics provider previously handled the majority of its transport services in the UK and republic of Ireland.

M&S bought the company to accelerate plans to modernise its food supply chain network to support growth.

While sales were strong in its half year results, M&S boss Stuart Machin warned that conditions would likely become more challenging in the next financial year.

“Looking beyond the current stormy weather, much is in our control and our mandate is clear – to step up the pace, accelerate change, drive a simpler, leaner business and invest in growth opportunities to build a reshaped M&S,” said the chief executive.

Last month Marks & Spencer announced it would target cost concious consumers with the launch of its offering on rental platform Hirestreet.

M&S capsules consist of up to seven items which can be styled into around ten different looks. The capsules will start from £39.

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