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Profit before tax at Marks and Spencer plummets 62.1%

23 May 2018

Total UK sales grew 1.8 percent to 9,611.0 million pounds as UK costs were up 1.8 percent during the year due to costs of new space, inflation and channel shift offset by efficiencies and lower incentive costs. It had meant to open 40 stores this financial year, but has cut that number to 25.

The retailer reported a 62.1% fall in pre-tax profit to £66.8 million in the year to March 31 as it was dragged down by £321.1 million in costs linked to store closures. Is now well under way and the actions taken have increased the velocity of change running through our business.

"M&S is now teetering on the edge of relegation from the FTSE 100 in the quarterly reshuffle next week", said Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

The shares were up 2.02pc at 297.7p mid-morning.

M&S shares have fallen 26 percent over the previous year and it risks being booted out of the FTSE 100 index as it is now worth less than both online grocer Ocado and online fashion website ASOS, starkly illustrating how shopping habits have changed in only a decade. But like-for-like food sales dropped 0.3% with the group blaming intense competition.

M&S is also improving its website and investing in its e-commerce capacity, including a site at Castle Donington, with the aim of doubling its online share of clothing and home sales to more than 33%.

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"There are a number of structural issues to address and we are taking steps towards fixing these", added Rowe.

"The new organisation will largely be in place by July and the team is now tackling transforming our culture to make M&S a faster, lower cost, more commercial, more digital business. In both businesses we need to revitalise our ranges and reassert our reputation for value for money".

Shares in the 134-year-old clothing and food retailer rose as much as 6.5 percent on Wednesday after its underlying profit for 2017/18 beat analyst forecasts, it held its dividend payout and investors covered short positions.

One key question is: will those lost fashion and home sales be recaptured online or in the fewer but better physical locations in the future?

The closures will affect its clothing and home stores, which have under-performed for several years.

Food margins are expected to remain under pressure in fiscal year 2019, with the company predicting a decline of up to 50 basis points.

Profit before tax at Marks and Spencer plummets 62.1%