Marks & Spencer has recorded its third consecutive fall in profit in three years, largely driven by a decline in clothing sales.
The retailer said that underlying profit before tax dropped 3.9% to £623m in the 52 weeks to March 29.
Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland said on Tuesday that after three years of trying to transform the business, the results showed “solid progress”.
This is despite missing a group sales target of between £10.8bn and £11.4bn and a 1.4% fall in like-for-like general merchandise sales, which is primarily clothing.
M&S reported group sales of £10.3bn for last year.
“M&S grew sales by 2.7% last year,” Bolland said. “We are focused on improving our performance in General Merchandise and were pleased to see early signs of improvement. Our Food
business had a very strong year, consistently outperforming the market.”
Chairman Robert Swannell added: “The investment made in executing our strategy over the last three years puts M&S in a stronger position to compete in a retail world undergoing profound change. Our priorities now are to deliver on the investment we have made and to make M&S a more profitable, stronger and well-equipped business. “
“In line with our dividend policy, the Board is recommending a final dividend of 10.8p per share, resulting in a full year dividend of 17.0p per share, level on last year,” he added.
Going forward, M&S said capital expenditure is expected to drop to about £500m to £550m per annum in the next three years as investment associated with strategic properties is now “largely committed”.