Marks & Spencer has reported the first loss in its 94-year history as a public company.
The retail stalwart told shareholders this morning that it lost £87.6 million in the six months to September 26 after being forced to close stores as a result of the pandemic.
Like-for-like sales in the clothing and home divisions fell 40.8 per cent over the period. The food business saw a 2.7 per cent rise in like-for-like sales.
Steve Rowe, chief executive, struck an upbeat tone: “In a year when it has become impossible to forecast with any degree of accuracy, our performance has been much more robust than at first seemed possible.”
Ocado Retail, in which M&S owns a 50 per cent stake, showed a 47.9 per cent rise in year-on-year revenue growth for the 26 weeks to August 30.
M&S, which employs 72,000 people in the UK, announced plans to cut 7,000 jobs in August. Last year the retailer fell out of the FTSE 100 for the first time since the index of blue-chip companies was launched in the 1980s. The shares have fallen a further 56 per cent this year.
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