Costs associated with long-running store restructuring and technology transformation programmes to improve Marks & Spencer’s productivity and drive its transition to a digital-first business had seriously dented profits, with the retailer slumping into the red at the pre-tax level over the 53 weeks to 3 April 2021 (FY2020) as the pandemic added to the pressures on the bottom line. 

But M&S moved firmly into the black over the year to end-March 2022 (FY2021), bolstered by sales growth across both the clothing & home and food divisions. This ended ten years of consecutive sales declines across the embattled clothing & home division as the retailer recovered from the pandemic-induced revenue slump in FY2020 and the transformation of the business started to show through more clearly. 

A three-year trend of declining group revenues was stemmed in FY2021, with group sales rising 18.4% year-on-year to £10,885.1m, reflecting a 6.9% rise on a two-year basis versus pre-pandemic levels. 

The retailer is moving ahead under a new senior team from mid-2022, with former food boss Stuart Machin and former chief strategy and transformation officer Katie Bickerstaffe jointly taking the reins as former CEO Steve Rowe stepped down from the business after six years at the helm. 

The new senior team is increasing the pace of change and repositioning the business both in the UK and globally and set out plans for the future under the ’reshaping for growth’ agenda towards the end of 2022. This includes accelerating its long-running store rotation programme to reduce clothing & home space and increase food space to enable the retailer to deliver on ambitious omnichannel targets. See Strategy

Innovation rating: 3

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