Tuesday 22nd May 2012, 16:31 London
M&S feels effect of market slowdown
The UK retailer has had to scale back its sales targets for 2014, as the weak state of the economy takes its toll
UK retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has recorded a decline in full-year profit for first time in three years, according to results just released.
Group sales rose by 2 per cent to £9.9bn (€12.3bn) for the year ending 31 March, but pre-tax profit fell from last year's £714.3m (€884m) to £705.9m (€873.6m).
Total UK sales increased by 1.5 per cent, predominantly due to a rise in food sales of 3.9 per cent.
International sales performed better, rising by some 5.8 per cent.
“Marks & Spencer performed well in a challenging economic environment, growing group sales by 2 per cent and holding market share," said chief executive Marc Bolland. "We also made good progress with our strategic plans."
Although the economic environment has worsened since M&S first laid out its strategic plans, Bolland argued that the retailer had made significant progress.
"Our UK pilot stores are delivering good results, which has given us the confidence to launch phase two of the programme," he said. "We are well on track to become a truly international multi-channel retailer. By the end of this year, we will be transacting from 10 websites worldwide and opening around 100 international stores per year.”
Chairman Robert Swannell added: "We have a clear strategy for the business. We remain focused on delivering this strategy effectively and efficiently."
However, M&S was forced to scale back its target of boosting sales by up to £2.4bn (€3bn) by 2014, revising that figure to up to £1.7bn (€2.1bn).