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M&S signals more store closures in shake-up

Marks and Spencer (M&S) has signalled it is to accelerate store closures as it bids to make “signifi..

By admin , in Money , at November 8, 2017

Marks and Spencer (M&S) has signalled it is to accelerate store closures as it bids to make "significant" cost savings and "reshape" the business.

The chain said it was stepping up its transformation efforts across M&S in a bid to return the company to its former glory as the darling of UK retail.

It stated the ambition as it revealed a 371% leap in pre-tax profits to £118.3m though underlying trading profits were 5.3% down.

M&S reported a fall in like-for-like sales in both its food and clothing & home divisions – coming in 0.1% down and 0.7% lower respectively in the six months to 30 September.

It said its embattled clothing arm, which has dragged on its financial performance for years, had performed better in the second quarter.

Nevertheless, it announced plans to shut more clothing stores in areas where they were less profitable.

M&S did not give any details but signalled that any job losses would be minimal as its first store closures, announced a year ago as part of chief executive Steve Rowe's drive to bolster profitability, had seen staff redeployed.

Mr Rowe said on Wednesday: "We have made good progress in remedying the immediate and burning issues at M&S I outlined last year.

"In Clothing & Home early results are encouraging and in International we now have a profitable and robust business.

"We recognise now that we face stronger headwinds in Food which will be addressed in the year ahead.

"The business still has many structural issues to tackle as we embark on the next five years of our transformation, in the context of a very challenging retail and consumer environment.

"Today we are accelerating our plans to build a business with sustainable, profitable growth, making M&S special again."

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