High-street giant Marks and Spencer has suffered a 3.9 per cent fall in annual profits to £623m, the third consecutive year profits have fallen.
Today’s results mark the conclusion of chief executive Marc Bolland’s three-year turnaround plan.
Group sales rose 2.7 per cent to £10.3bn in the year to 23 March while UK food sales rose 1.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis. General merchandise fell 1.4 per cent.
It is the first time that M&S has earned less money annuals than rival Next.
Bolland, who has been chief since 2010, said it was “focused on improving its performance in general merchandise” and was “pleased” to see early signs of improvement.
He added: “Our food business had a very strong year, consistently outperforming the market.”
Multi-channel sales through online, tablet and mobile surged 22.8 per cent but M&S said it would take four to six months for its new website “to settle in.” It has invested heavily into its supply chain and IT systems and reassured shareholders by saying its capital expenditure will fall from £710m to £500-550m in each of the next three years.
Neil Saunders, Managing Director of Conlumino, commented: “Things that were holding the company back – like a dated website, poor inventory management, and inadequate e-commerce logistics – have been invested in and brought up to date. These investments are not necessarily revolutionary but they give M&S a fighting chance to compete with other more nimble climbers on Retail Mountain.”