Marks & Spencer today revealed its lowest annual profits for four years. Retail Week looks at the highs and lows of a difficult year for the iconic British brand.
– The retailer posts underlying profit before tax of £705.9m, down from £714.3m the previous year. Food like-for-likes rose 2.1% and general merchandise fell 1.8%. Marks & Spencer unveils its new beauty department in its High Street Kensington, London store which will provide the template for future in-store beauty areas.
– Retail Week reveals Marks & Spencer is to shake up the financial services industry with the launch of its own bank with branches in its existing stores creating 500 jobs in the process. Corporate governance lobby group Pensions Investment Research Consultants pressure investors to abstain on the retailer’s remuneration report the following month.
- General merchandise executive director Kate Bostock reveals she is to depart in October after months of speculation. She is replaced by food boss John Dixon - in turn replaced by retail director Steve Roe - while former Jaegar boss Belinda Earl joins as style director as M&S looks to turnaround clothing sales. In its first quarter, M&S’s group sales edged down 0.7%.
– M&S opens its landmark Cheshire Oaks store. The 151,000 sq ft store, widely expected to be the last of its size the retailer will ever open, features a number of multichannel initiatives as M&S looks to integrate digital into its stores. It emerges the retailer is to launch a new womenswear campaign without celebrities for the first time since 2005
– The retailer’s new autumn advertising campaign, under the strapline ‘For every woman you are’, is criticised for purporting to use ‘real’ women models who are more attractive than average.
– Marks & Spencer reveals plans to launch local transactional websites in Germany, Spain, Austria and Belgium. Items will be sold in Euros and offer the preferred language, payment and delivery options. It introduces free next day collection in stores. Kate Bostock officially departs to join Asos.
– Marks & Spencer posts a 10% slump in pre-tax profit to £290m in the 26 weeksto September 29 as the first quarter trading was hit by unseasonably wet weather. Group sales increased 0.9% to £4.7bn as total UK like-for-like sales slipped 1.4%. General merchandise like-for-likes fall 4.3%. M&S appoints Victoria’s Secret chief creative officer Janie Shaffer to be its director of lingerie and beauty and its new ‘knicker queen’.
– Marks & Spencer opens on Christmas Eve as the rush for last minute Christmas food shopping goes to the wire. The festive period is seen as crucial in putting the retailer back on course with its strong premium food offer helping to offset its struggling womenswear category.
– Marks & Spencer’s like-for-like sales fall 1.8% over Christmas, when clothing sales slumped. Chief executive Marc Bolland admitted that the general merchandise performance, which suffered a 3.8% like-for-like decline over the 13 weeks to December 29, is “not yet satisfactory”.
– M&S reveals plans to open a specialist unit to experiment with and develop retail technology. The ‘digital lab’ will be used to spur online innovation.
– M&S is linked with the state-owned Qatar Investment Authority which has a 26% stake in Sainsbury’s, a grocer which has enjoyed sustained growth. It is rumoured the authority is putting together a consortium to front the bid.
– The retailer delivers it strongest quarterly update for two years after a robust performance in food offset continued weakness in clothing. UK like-for-likes edged up 0.6%, and within that food jumped 4% while general merchandise – comprising fashion and home – fell 3.8%. Retail Week reveals that ‘knicker queen’ Janie Schaffer has left after just three months.
– Next director Jo Jenkins is unveiled as Schaffer’s replacement. M&S last week unveiled its crucial autumn/winter collection as it looks to get its womenswear offer on track. The retailer pledges to unveil ‘market leading’ online options for shoppers on unveiling its Castle Donington ecommerce distribution centre. M&S posts its lowest annual profits in four years at £665.2m as full year like-for-like sales edged up 1%.
Marks & Spencer profits fall despite 1.3% increase in sales
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Marks & Spencer timeline: The highs and lows of the retailer's year