Marks & Spencer suffers first ever loss as coronavirus batters clothing sales

Marks & Spencer Manchester

Marks & Spencer has slumped to its first loss as a listed business after the coronavirus crisis hammered sales in its clothing division.

The high street bellwether suffered a pre-tax loss of £88m during the 26 weeks to September 26, compared with a £159m profit a year ago. 

The statutory loss included £70m in adjusting items, £10m of which were costs incurred as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, such as staff bonuses and wages for employees on furlough. The retailer did, however, receive £98m from the government’s furlough scheme and £84m in business rates relief, offsetting some of the additional costs.  

Before adjusting items, M&S registered an operating profit of £62m, down 77% year on year. Total revenues dropped 16% to £4bn.

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