Marks & Spencer (M&S) recorded a first half pre-tax profit increase to 360.2 million pounds and statutory pre-tax profit increase to 325.6 million pounds.
M&S Clothing & Home sales were up 5.7 percent with LFL sales up 5.5 percent and adjusted operating profit rose to 223.4 million pounds and margin was 12.1 percent.
The company said in a release that the trading momentum has been maintained through October and M&S is planning for a good Christmas, with customers already responding positively to the ranges.
Commenting on the first half results, Stuart Machin, Chief Executive said: “Our strategy to reshape M&S for growth has delivered strong results in the first half. In Clothing & Home we backed lines with authority across core and seasonal products, maintaining our lead on quality and value perception and improving our style credentials. As a result, we’ve sold more products and served more customers across Food and Clothing & Home, with both businesses outperforming the market.”
M&S added that the outlook remains uncertain with the probable impact on the consumer of the highest interest rates in 20 years, deflation, geopolitical events, and erratic weather. Against more challenging comparatives, the company expects pre-tax profit to be weighted towards the first half.
The company’s board has restored a modest dividend to shareholders, starting with an interim dividend of 1p per share.
“Our cost reduction programme is on track with over 100 million pounds savings delivered in the half and investment in supply chain modernisation driving efficiencies, translating volume growth to improved margin and profitability. We have further strengthened our balance sheet and net debt position, with an interim dividend payment being made to shareholders for the first time in four years,” Machin added.