UK retail institution Marks & Spencer has been making a better fist of things of late but it is in a difficult spot right now.
It doesn’t sit in the luxury space where the clientele is insulated from cost-of-living pressures nor does it offer the kind of value on offer from discount chains and grocers. Instead, Marks is wedged in a kind of squeezed middle and that’s reflected in both a big drop in underlying profit and a gloomy outlook.
AJ Bell’s Russ Mould said: “There were some bright spots among the dark clouds with trading reasonably resilient and the company enjoying decent fashion sales. This is quite the turnaround from a period where Marks & Spencer’s tired clothing offering was a real Achilles heel for the group.
“This is also a more efficient business with a stronger balance sheet to weather what is sure to be a difficult period.
“That position is testament to the progress which has been made and Marks & Spencer shareholders will hope that not all of that is unpicked by the current consumer turmoil.”