M&S lifts guidance as food sales surpass pre-pandemic levels

Marks and Spencer profits climb as food sales surpass pre-pandemic levels
The profit upgrade is only the second from M&S this century and follows one in August.
// M&S raises its forecast for full-year profit before tax & adjusting items to about £500 million
// Food sales at the retailer increased 10.4% on 2019

Marks and Spencer has reported a return to profit in its half-year results and upgraded its full-year outlook as boss Steve Rowe heralded “the hard yards” of its ongoing transformation as the driving force behind its strong performance.

The 137-year-old retailer said it made profit before tax and adjusting items of 269.4 million pounds in the six months to Oct 2, beating analysts forecasts of £205-264 million.

It made a loss before tax and adjusting items of £17.4 million in the same period last year.


READ MORE: M&S expects gaps in shelves to last “until spring”


M&S raised its forecast for full-year profit before tax and adjusting items to about £500 million pounds from previous guidance of over £350 million.

The profit upgrade is only the second from M&S this century and follows one in August.

The first-half outcome was also ahead of the profit of £176.3 million made in 2019, prior to the coronavirus pandemic which impacted trading.

Food sales increased 10.4 per cent on 2019, while clothing and home revenue was down 1 per cent with full price sales up 17.3 per cent.

M&S said it believes the pandemic has masked the progress management has made in its latest turnaround efforts after years of false dawns.

Chairman Archie Norman and chief executive Steve Rowe have focused on transforming M&S’ outdated culture, improving the quality and value of its clothing and food products, while reshaping its store estate and investing in technology and e-commerce, including a venture with online supermarket Ocado.

Shares in M&S, up 43 per cent so far this year, closed Tuesday at 194.5 pence, valuing the business at £3.8 billion.

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