High street stalwart Marks & Spencer has reported a 16 per cent drop in annual profits in what chief executive Marc Bolland called “a challenging economic environment”.
Profits before tax for the year to March 31 totalled £658 million, down from last year’s figure of £780.6 million.
Like-for-like UK sales were up 0.3 per cent and while like-for-like UK food sales were up 2.1 per cent, general merchandise, including homeware and clothing, was down 1.8 per cent.
Like-for-like food sales in the UK were up by 2.1 per cent, but sales of general merchandise, which includes food and clothing, fell by 1.8 per cent.
Group sales up grew by two per cent to £9.9 billion.
International sales were up 5.8 per cent to £1.06 billion as business in India, China and Hong Kong saw strong growth, while the first Paris store opened in November.
Multi-channel sales, including online, climbed 18 per cent.
Chief executive Marc Bolland said: “Marks & Spencer performed well in a challenging economic environment, growing group sales by two per cent and holding market share.
“While the economic environment has deteriorated since we first set out our strategic plans, we have made significant progress.
“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.”
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