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M&S' H1 pretax profit tumbles

By BFN News | 08:11 AM | Wednesday 04 November, 2015

Marks & Spencer's H1 pretax profit has tumbled to GBP216.0m, from GBP279.4m previously. Revenue was GBP4.95bn, from GBP4.9bn. It hiked its interim dividend to 6.8p a share, up 6.3% on the year. Looking ahead, M&S said despite some improvement in consumer confidence, market conditions continue to be challenging in both the UK and the International markets. "Our short term priorities remain the same: Food sales growth, GM gross margin improvement, improved GM performance and strong cash generation," the company said in its H1 results. CEO Marc Bolland said: "We delivered good underlying profit growth in the first half and made strong progress against our key priorities. "Our Food business again outperformed the market by over 3% points as our focus on quality and innovation continues to set us apart. "In General Merchandise we decided to improve profitability by focusing on gross margin, delivering another significant increase, which in part resulted in slightly lower sales. "As a consequence of good performance and strong cash generation we have decided to increase our dividend." HIGHLIGHTS: - Food business outperforms a highly competitive market: Sales +3.3%; LFL +0.2%; differentiated offer continues to set us apart; 32 new Simply Food stores opened, with performance ahead of expectations - General Merchandise gross margin ahead of expectations: Gross margin up 285bps, full year guidance raised to +200 to 250bps; Significant sourcing gains - General Merchandise sales slightly down: Sales -0.4%; LFL -1.2%; unseasonal conditions and decision to focus on full price sales; M& sales +34.2%; strong improvement across all metrics. At 8:11am: (LON:MKS) Marks Spencer Group PLC share price was +17.5p at 538p Story provided by

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