M&S chief executive Steve Rowe has hailed the retailer’s rising full-price sales, adding that M&S will continue on its “self-help programme”.
Rowe made the comments on the morning of its full-year results in which profits and like-for-likes fell.
Pre-tax profits tumbled 63.9% to £176.4m during the 52 weeks to April 1, when compared with the 53-week period the previous year. Before the impact of adjusted items, pre-tax profit fell 11% to £613.8m.
Group revenues inched up 0.6% to £10.6bn, although like-for-like sales fell 1.9% as the clothing and home division continued to struggle.
Like-for-likes in the division fell 3.4% over the year, while its total sales fell 2.8%.
But Rowe today said that the number he was “interested in” was an 11% rise in full-price clothing and home sales in its second half.
Over the year as a whole, full-price sales were up 2.7%.
He added that M&S was “not complacent at all” about the progress made on its restructure, but insisted that the business was “almost exactly where we thought we would be” and that the management team had done “what we had to do” on stores closures, exiting unprofitable markets and clamping down on excessive discounting.
By the time M&S enters its summer Sale it will have had 91 full-price days – the longest run for a decade.
The City appeared pleased with M&S’ results this morning.
Peel Hunt analysts John Stevenson and Jonathan Pritchard said that the results were “nicely ahead of expectations”.
They added: “Q4 was unsurprisingly slower than Q3 but still represented a gain in full price market share, and our view is that current trading is strong.
“That is the key variable in forecasts and we think like-for-likes in general merchandise will surprise to the upside this year as M&S continues to implement change that will drive shoppers to the stores and, more importantly, to the tills when they get there.”