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M&S herald new era with record profit

Image © Marks and Spencer

The chief executive of M&S has stressed it is a new beginning for the high street giant as it posts its highest profit in more than a decade.

In its full year results, for the 52 weeks ending 30 March 2024, M&S report profit before tax and adjusting items of £716.4mn, up from £453.3mn the year before.

Yet again its food offering helped it reach these record rates. Food sales were up 13.0% at an adjusted operating profit of £395.3mn, previously £248.0mn in 2022/23, and at a margin of 4.8%.

“Food’s leading quality perception increased even further with over 1,000 products upgraded and 1,300 new lines launched. Continued progress was made on value perception with £60mn invested in price,” explained Stuart Machin, chief executive of M&S.

Clothing & Home were sales up 5.3% with an adjusted operating profit £402.8mn – an increase of £79mn on last year. “Style perception continued to improve and our decisive lead on quality and value perception was extended. Our commitment to ‘First Price Right Price’ supported full price sell through ahead of last year,” noted Machin.

These results mean both businesses have now delivered 12 consecutive quarters of sales growth.

Machin continued: “It has been a good year, and I would like to thank all of our colleagues for their hard work and commitment. However, there remains much work to do and that’s a good thing as every challenge is an opportunity for growth. The soft wiring of the organisation – who we are and how we show up – is changing and we are building a culture where everyone is sleeves rolled up, M&S first, closer to customers and closer to colleagues. But culture change is a job that is never ‘done’ and it is critically important to reshaping M&S.

“We have made progress on ‘hardwiring’ sustainable change – how and when we execute our strategic priorities – with progress in store rotation and supply chain. However, we need to move faster and be ruthlessly challenging on the areas where progress has been slower, building a more effective digital and technology infrastructure, accelerating the move to a truly personalised customer experience, and resetting priorities in International.

“We have a clear plan, a clear vision for the future, and there is so much opportunity ahead of us. We are at the beginnings of a new M&S.”

M&S joined the ‘Leading’ retailers category of the recently published RetailX UK Top500 2024 report. The Leading retailers in this year’s report are adapting quickly to meet the needs of shoppers who may have less disposable income to spend but when they do spend, still expect the convenience to which they have become accustomed.

M&S joins supermarkets Asda and Sainsbury’s and sits alongside general merchandise retailers and department stores Argos and John Lewis & Partners.

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