Total profits before tax grew 11 per cent during the last year at high street retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) to total £780.6 million, as reported in final results today.
In what is CEO Marc Bolland’s first year in charge, the food and clothing specialist saw market share grow in all areas and the company’s final dividend finished up 13.7 per cent year-on-year to 10.8p per share.
Clothing market share grew 50 base points to 11.7 per cent during the 52 weeks ending April 2nd 2011, and food market share increased ten base points over the same period to 3.9 per cent.
Bolland said: “M&S had a good year with sales and profits ahead of last year. We traded well in a challenging environment, growing our market share in both clothing and food.
“We did this by offering customers great quality and value, and more choice through innovation.”
Revenues were up four per cent in the UK and 6.1 per cent internationally over the period with group sales reaching £9.7 billion, meaning underlying operating profit, adjusted for exceptional costs, rose 5.9 per cent to £824.9 million.
General merchandise was the best performing segment during the 12 months with sales growth of 3.2 per cent on a like-for-like (LFL) basis, whilst food trading grew by 2.6 per cent LFL during the year, an impressive achievement in an increasingly competitive market.
Bolland has previously stated his main objectives for the long term is to boost the reputation and quality of the company’s own-label clothes, grow internationally and continue to add more store numbers in a method he described as an “evolution not revolution” of previous boss Sir Stuart Rose’s strategy.
“In November we set out our plan to grow M&S into a truly international, multichannel retailer,” Bolland added.
“We have made good early progress and are focused on both trading the business in the short term and on delivering against our long term targets.”
M&S Direct sales were up 31 per cent in the year, compared to overall online market growth of 20 per cent during the period according to Interactive Media in Retail Group.
Around 20 new international stores were opened over the 12 months, in Ireland, Czech Republic, Poland, Estonia, India and China, and 24 new franchise outlets opened globally including the retailer’s first store in Egypt.
Robert Swannell, Chairman, said: “M&S has a very clear plan and direction, and management is making good progress at all levels throughout the business.
“In light of our good performance this year, we are today announcing that the board has approved a final dividend of 10.8p per share, an increase of 13.7 per cent, giving a total 17.0p for the year, 13.3 per cent up on last year.”