M&S set for 4% increase in profits

Marks and Spencer saw like-for-like sales at its general merchandise arm grow by 0.7 per cent in the fourth quarter, boosted by sales of clothes.

Marks and Spencer saw like-for-like sales at its general merchandise arm grow by 0.7 per cent in the fourth quarter, boosted by sales of clothes.

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MARKS & Spencer is this week set to deliver its first improvement in annual results in four years following an improving performance at its clothing 
division.

Like-for-like sales at the retailer’s general merchandise arm grew 0.7 per cent in the fourth quarter, boosted by 
demand for a 1970s-style suede skirt worn by television presenter and model Alexa Chung.

Full-year figures are due on Wednesday, and the City is looking for a 4 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £648 million for the 12 months to March.

However, Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “One swallow doesn’t make a summer, and the improvement in clothing sales, and women’s wear in particular, will need to be sustained on an ongoing basis before we can say that M&S has recovered its magic and sparkle, and truly turned a corner.”

Analysts at Nomura have also said that the retailer’s long-suffering shareholders could also be in line for a £250m special dividend.

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