Marks & Spencer Sees Profits Jump, But Plans To Slow Store Openings
UK retailer Marks & Spencer has posted revenue of £5,125.6 million in its half year results, up 2.6% compared to the same period in 2016.
The clothing, home and food retailer saw its profits after tax quadruple to £84.6 million, with international profits trebling in the first half of the year.
The clothing and home unit saw a 5.3% increase in revenue, due to pricing strategies and fewer promotions, while the food business was up 4.4%, driven by new stores.
“We have made good progress in remedying the immediate and burning issues at M&S I outlined last year," said chief executive Steve Rowe.
"In Clothing & Home early results are encouraging and in International we now have a profitable and robust business. We recognise now that we face stronger headwinds in Food which will be addressed in the year ahead."
In spite of this peformance, Marks & Spencer says that it will be slowing its Simply Food store opening plan in the future, noting that only the highest returning sites will qualify for addition to its store portfolio.
Instead, the retailer says that it is planning to build on its progress in the clothing and home unit.
"The business still has many structural issues to tackle as we embark on the next five years of our transformation, in the context of a very challenging retail and consumer environment," added Rowe.
"Today we are accelerating our plans to build a business with sustainable, profitable growth, making M&S special again.”
Meanwhile, the retailer also announced that chief finance officer Helen Weir is to step down from her position.
Marks & Spencer says that Weir, who joined the company from department store chain John Lewis in 2014, will continue in her position until a suitable successor has been found.
Last month, it was reported that Marks & Spencer's head of clothing, Jo Jenkins, had resigned just a number of weeks after assuming the role.
Her departure is seen to be a blow for Rowe, who used to lead the retailer's clothing business, as the company prepares for the upcoming Christmas season.
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.