This is in addition to the 35 M&S stores which were closed last year. Today the retail giant reported a 9.9 percent fall in underlying pre-tax profits to £523.2 million for the year to March 31. That figure is down more than £50m upon the previous year where pre-tax profits reached £580.9m. The group warned that it remained in the “difficult early stages” of its turnaround and progress will largely not come until the second half of 2019-20.
Comparable sales in its troubled womenswear arm dropped 1.6 percent after a 1.3 percent fall in the final three months, after it was hit by the timing of Easter and poor stock availability.
In addition like-for-like sales in its food halls also dropped by 2.3 percent following a 1.5 percent decline in the fourth quarter.
The retailer outlined its plans to relocated or reduced the Simply Food shops that have lower sales as it focuses efforts on the best-performing locations.
Marks & Spencer chief executive Steve Rowe says the company was “deep into the first phase of our transformation programme” and is in the process of “fixing many of the legacy issues we face”.
The M&S boss also cited the store was “changing faster than at any time in my career” and across the retail sector as a whole.
Mr Rowe said: “Whilst there are green shoots, we have not been consistent in our delivery in a number of areas of the business.
“M&S is changing faster than at any time in my career – substantial changes across the business to our processes, ranges and operations and this has constrained this year’s performance, particularly in Clothing & Home.
“However, we remain on track with our transformation and are now well on the road to making M&S special again.”
This is a breaking news story, more to follow.