Profit before tax at Marks and Spencer plummets 62.1%

23 May 2018, 06:28 | Isaac Mcdaniel

M&S store closure costs result in 62% annual profit plunge

M&S profits plunge 62pc amid sweeping store closure plans

However, the M&S boss highlighted that these changes come with costs, which were reflected in Wednesday's results.

The retailer, which had a total of 1,035 stores at the end of its 2017/2018 financial year, will publish its annual results on Wednesday.

Despite the hit, shares in the retailer rose as much as 6pc in early trade, as investors were cheered that pre-tax profits with store closure costs stripped out had beaten expectations.

Marks and Spencer Group Plc saw its profit before tax and adjusting items fall 5.4 percent to 580.9 million pounds for the 52 weeks to March 31, 2018 down from 613.8 million pounds in 2017 as its transformation plan is well underway.

Yesterday, M&S said it would close 100 United Kingdom stores by 2022, further accelerating the plan as it strives to make at least a third of sales online.

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

M&S lost more ground in its fourth quarter, with like-for-like clothing and home sales down 3.4 percent, worse than the previous quarter's 2.8 percent drop, and same store food sales down 0.6 percent, against a third quarter fall of 0.4 percent.

M&S profits plunge 62pc amid sweeping store closure plans
M&S says it must accelerate change or fade away

In notes attached to its results, the company said the "continued migration" of clothing and home products online; the development of global competition; the growth of home delivery in food; and "the march of the discounters" all amounted to threats to its business.

"We have to modernise our business to ensure we are competitive and reignite our culture". "Accelerated change is the only option". The announcement is in line with the next tranche of United Kingdom stores proposed for closure or set to close as it reshapes its United Kingdom store estate in line with its target to take at least a third of sales online.

"Alongside relocations, conversions, downsizes and the introduction of concessions, these closures will radically reshape M&S's clothing and home space", the firm said.

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

"This is vital as we start to leverage the strength of the M&S brand and values across a family of businesses to deliver sustainable, profitable growth in three to five years".

It said online sales were growing, but that its online capability was "behind the best of our competitors and our website is too slow".

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