MARKS & Spencer is set to ring up its first rise in annual profits in four years this week amid mounting speculation that chief executive Marc Bolland will also unveil a boost for shareholders.
M&S, which reports on Wednesday, is expected to have increased underlying pre-tax profits 4 per cent to £648 million, and may herald special dividends or share buybacks.
A share buyback, the first at the high street giant since 2007, would increase the value of the fewer shares remaining in circulation.
Analysts believe the company’s better financial position, given better profits and falling debts and capital spending, mean there is scope for it to hand £250 million to shareholders.
Bolland marks his fifth year at the M&S helm this summer, but progress back to rising profitability and like-for-like sales has been slow, revenues falling for 14 consecutive quarters.