Half year profits at M&S have risen 2% to £223.5 million (before tax and adjusting items).
However that’s despite a shrinking top line, with revenues falling 3.1%.
Like-for-like food revenue fell 2.9%, like-for-like clothing & home revenue fell 1.1%.
Shares rose 1% in early morning trading.
Laith Khalaf, Senior Analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown: “The most recent missive from M&S makes for grim reading, despite the headline rise in profits. However expectations are already low, and while there are few signs of relief in its latest numbers, the broad direction of travel at M&S won’t come as a shock to anyone.
“Sales are falling, in both food and clothing & home divisions, and an early Easter has added insult to injury. Only a short time ago the food business looked to be the jewel in the crown of the M&S empire, though today it’s looking pretty jaded.
“As well as traditional rivals like Tesco and Sainsbury, and the upstarts Aldi and Lidl, the food division is up against a new breed of online competitors such as Hello Fresh, Deliveroo and Just Eat. These providers present a particular threat to M&S seeing as many of its customers are buying a quick meal for that night, rather than a full weekly shop.
“Some good news for the retailer comes from an unexpected source. In the recent market turmoil M&S actually shored up its position in the FTSE 100, as its shares rose by 2.5% in October, set against a 5% fall in the wider UK market. With a reshuffle in the benchmark index looming in early December, recent share price performance is somewhat of a saving grace, though there’s still a month of trading left before the final scores on the doors are counted.
“M&S is in the midst of the turnaround plan, and so business performance can be expected to be rocky for the time being. Though at some point in the not too distant future, investors will want to see some light at the end of the tunnel.”
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