Marks & Spencer has reported a return to annual like-for-like growth at its food arm for the first time since 2007, an increased clothing market share and a profits rise.
Adjusted pre-tax profit rose 4.6% to £632.5m on group sales up 3.2% to £9.3bn in the year to March 27.
But chairman Sir Stuart Rose remained cautious about the year to come and said consumers are concerned about any impact on them from the emergency Budget on June 22.
Food like-for-likes edged up 0.3% over the year, helped by initiatives such as the Wise Buys range and Dine-in promotion. However, market share fell fell from 3.9% to 3.8% as the retailer cut prices in an inflationary market and food margin fell 95 basis points.
Marks & Spencer’s general merchandise like-for-likes rose 1.6% over the year, when clothing market share rose 30 basis points to 11%.
Rose, who was succeeded as chief executive by Marc Bolland at the start of this month, said: “Marks & Spencer has had a good year. We have improved performance in all core areas, demonstrating the resilience of the M&S brand.
“We took action to guide M&S through the recession without losing sight of what matters most to our customers – quality and value.”
He said trading had been “satisfactory” in the new year.
The figures reported covered a 52-week period, which the retailer said better reflect underlying performance than the 53 weeks formally constituting the last financial year. Statutory pre-tax profit fell from £706.2m to £702.7m.