Marks And Spencer Announce Profit Fall

The food and clothing retailer Marks and Spencer has reported a fall in profits and sales, blaming the "challenging economic environment".

Although the shop made a pre-tax profit of £320.5m in the six months to 1 October, the result was 8% lower than the same period last year.

However, the store announced today it would be launching a number of new initiatives to improve the company's performance, which included 100 new international food brands, new store segmentation and in-store presentation pilot launched in 15 stores and a style online multimedia shop trial going into three stores.

Marc Bolland, Chief Executive, said: “Marks & Spencer performed well in the first half. Sales were ahead of last year despite tough comparatives and a challenging economic environment. Our Food business in particular performed strongly. We maintained our share of the Clothing and Food markets.

“In an increasingly promotional environment, we managed costs tightly and took a decision to invest in giving our customers better value, choosing not to pass on the full extent of the increases in commodity prices."

Mr Bolland added that against a challenging consumer backdrop, the retailer took decisive action to manage the business through the short term while continuing its focus on investing in creating a stronger platform for future growth.

“We have a very exciting Christmas product offer for our customers with more innovation and choice than ever before,” Mr Bolland said.

The company added that the second half of the year had started in line with their expectations and they would continue to manage the business for a "challenging environment" with particular focus on offering "value to our customers and tight control of costs and stock".

"We remain cautious about the outlook but are well set up for the all important Christmas period."


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