Wet August to put damper on M&S results

Marc Bolland, is pinning his hopes on the high street giant's recent increases in profits continuing
Marc Bolland, is pinning his hopes on the high street giant's recent increases in profits continuing
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MARKS & Spencer is expected to unveil a mixed bag when it posts its interim results this week, with food again doing better than clothing-dominated general merchandise.

The City believes the retailer’s same-floorspace general merchandise sales fell 1.2 per cent in its second trading quarter, unhelped by wet weather in August.

By contrast, like-for-like food sales at M&S are expected to have lifted 0.2 per cent, as its upmarket produce continues to outperform a UK grocery market that has been hit by deflation for more than a year.

In May, M&S turned a corner by posting its first annual profits increase in four years, progress that chief executive Marc Bolland will hope to maintain.

Analysts expect the interim pre-tax profit to have edged up 0.7 per cent to £270 million, alth­ough the news on the womenswear sales front is likely to take some of the gloss off.

Bolland took over at M&S in 2010 and during his tenure riv­al Next has overtaken it in profitability.