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.