Marks & Spencer profits plunge by 64% as fashion sales slide

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has recently launched a swimwear range at M&S.

Marks & Spencer has seen its annual profits tumble by almost 64% thanks to restructuring costs and a fall in sales in its clothing arm, which also includes lingerie and swimwear.

In the 52 weeks to April 1, the retailer posted pre-tax profits of £176.4 million, down from £488.8 million last year.

Underlying pre-tax profits were 10.3% lower at £613.8 million.

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M&S said sales in its clothing business dropped 5.9% in the last three months, marking an end to the revival seen in the third quarter, when sales rose by 2.3%.

Group CEO Steve Rowe said the retailer’s planned restructuring has “come with a cost” and has impacted profits.

In November, M&S announced it will close 30 UK clothing and home stores and exit 10 international markets over the next five years.

Revenues were also impacted by the timing of the December sale, which was included in Q3, and Easter, which fell outside the quarter.

M&S estimates that these factors had a combined effect of -3.8% on clothing and home revenues.

But the group is encouraged the fact that full-price clothing sales were up 2.7% in the year to April 1, with strong growth in the second half, and total market share stabilising in the last three months.

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