M&S downsizes communications team as it readies half-year results

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M&S downsizes communications team as it readies half-year results
At a meeting in October, M&S said its turnaround of clothing is now 18 months behind schedule and bosses admitted problems remain.
// M&S makes nine staff redundant in communications team
// It’s the latest in a string of resignations and oustings this year
// M&S is also preparing to unveil another decline in its clothing & home division on Wednesday

Marks & Spencer has reportedly downsized its communications team as part of ongoing efforts to cut costs in its turnaround scheme.

According to The Telegraph, the retailer made nine communications staff redundant in July.

It follows a string of oustings and resignations, including finance chief Humphrey Singer and clothing and home supply chain director Gordon Mowat.

M&S is also preparing to unveil yet another decline in its clothing and home divisions when it announces half-year results on Wednesday.


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However, the main difference this time is that investors will be prepared, as management had softened up the City weeks in advance with a series of presentations to analysts last month.

At a meeting in October, M&S said its turnaround of clothing is now 18 months behind schedule and bosses admitted problems remain.

As a result, consensus among analysts is that non-food sales will fall around seven per cent – or 4.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis when store closures have been stripped out.

To tackle its problems, M&S had previously announced plans to close 100 clothes stores by 2022.

In May it added that 25 food stores will also close by 2023/24, although 75 new food sites will open too.

M&S has been keen to focus on its food division – especially in preparation for the launch of online food services via its joint venture deal with Ocado.

Analysts predict food sales will fall 0.1 per cent – or rise 0.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis – but because profit margins tend to be higher on clothing than food, underlying pre-tax profits for the period are set to fall by around 25 per cent to £176 million.

On a statutory basis, when one-off costs are included, profits are expected to rise, due to the heavy spending last year on the store closure programme.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Ten years ago M&S began playing piped music in their shops much to the dismay of both customers and staff. In 2016 they turned off the music because they finally admitted that their customers hated it:

    “This decision is the result of extensive research and feedback from our customers and colleagues.”

    Now they have started to play it again “just for Christmas” which apparently occurs on November 1st. My local shop has pop music , not Christmas music, blaring out everywhere including the cafe where people are trying to talk. Customers who detest piped music on 31st October don’t suddenly love it because it’s November! I have a hearing problem and this discriminates against me so I won’t be going back until January. Can Marks really afford to lose custom at this time of year.

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