Marks & Spencer has recorded an increase in sales, which the group said was driven by its “strategy to reshape M&S for growth”. 

Marks & Spencer Liverpool

M&S said the economic outlook for consumer spending is ‘uncertain’ and ‘challenging’

Overall sales increased 9.9% for the year ending April 1, 2023, with clothing and home sales up 11.5% to £3.72bn and food sales up 8.7% to £7.22bn. Store sales and online sales rose 14.9% and 4.8% respectively.

The retailer made a profit before tax and adjusting items of £482.0m, ahead of forecasts but down from last year’s £522.9m, dented by increased energy prices, heightened labour costs and its share of losses from its joint venture with Ocado. 

It expects modest growth in revenues through omnichannel and its store rotation plan, and is “encouraged by the strong foundations established last year”.

Although the retailer said it had faced higher staff and energy costs, they were expected to be offset by £150m worth of savings from its strategy and there would soon be scope to invest in customer service and digital development. 

Though the economic outlook for consumer spending is “uncertain” and “challenging” the retailer said it was pleased with its sales growth, and has announced plans to reinstate its annual divident payment in November. 

M&S chief executive Stuart Machin said: “One year in, our strategy to reshape M&S for growth has driven sustained trading momentum, with both businesses continuing to grow sales and market share. Our food and clothing and home businesses invested in value to protect customers from the full force of inflation, which, whilst impacting margin, was the right thing to do, as serving our customers well is the only route to delivering for our shareholders.

“Food outperformed the market with customer perception for quality and value the highest in six years. The benefits of the Gist acquisition and operational efficiencies also supported an improved performance in the second half. 

“Clothing and home retained market-leading value perception and its style credentials continue to improve. Sales were up in-store and online, supported by growth in click-and-collect sales, active app users and Sparks loyalty membership; demonstrating the emerging power of our omnichannel model. 

“The store rotation and renewal programme delivered strong sales uplifts and will accelerate this year, including the opening of five brand-defining full-line stores in major cities. Our disciplined approach to capital allocation means we can invest for growth, while further reducing net debt and maintaining investment grade credit metrics, and we plan to resume dividend payments at our interim results.”