Sunday, 21 October, 2018

EXTRA: M&S Annual Profit Falls As Costs Of Transformation Plan Hit

Marks and Spencer share price Marks and Spencer share price
Guillermo Lane | 23 May, 2018, 17:13

Profit before tax at Marks and Spencer (M&S) plummeted 62.1 per cent to £66.8 million last year from £176.4 million the year before, the company's full year results show.

In addition, the group is set to close 25 percent of its Clothing & Home space to as sales shift online and investing to increase and improve its commerce capacity to support its aim to double its online sales to more than 33 percent.

According to reports, M&S will announce which of its 140-strong full-store network will close on Wednesday UK time, adding to the 20 already shuttered.

"We have to modernise our business to ensure we are competitive and reignite our culture". It has also scaled back the number of Simply Food stores it planned to open this year by 15.

The British Retail Consortium, a trade association representing the United Kingdom retail sector, has said that sales will likely remain sluggish throughout 2018, and recently warned that weak non-food sales (such as clothing and electronics) are contributing to an "unprecedented period of change the impact of which is being laid bare for us all to see".

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M&S said its food and non-food supply chains needed "significant upgrades" to speed up service, reduce high clothing stock levels and tackle availability and waste in food. Operationally, M&S said it will reposition the Food business in the year ahead to become more "relevant".

Looking further into its "structural issues", M&S said that although online sales are growing, its online capability is "behind the best of our competitors and our website is too slow".

"The first phase of our transformation is about restoring the basics, getting the architecture and infrastructure of the business fit for the future", stated the company. Whilst the fulfilment centre at Castle Donington has struggled to cope with peak demand and some of its systems are dated.

Then in November previous year, three months after retail veteran Archie Norman joined as chairman, the firm said it would speed-up the programme. "In both businesses we need to revitalise our ranges and reassert our reputation for value for money". "These changes come with short term costs which are reflected in today's results", said Steve Rowe, Marks & Spencer CEO in a statement.

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