M&S full-year profits expected to slide

Profits are expected to fall at Marks & Spencer after the retail giant's sales were stymied by pandemic store closures.

The group is expected to disclose that it tumbled to a £43 million pre-tax profit for the year to March when it updates investors on Wednesday.

It would represent a 36 per cent slump against the £67.2m profit for the previous financial year, as pandemic costs further cut into its performance.

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This is expected to have been driven by a dive in clothing and home sales, which are predicted to plunge 34 per cent after being battered by the enforced closure of stores for many months although they have since reopened.

M&S is expected to report a dive in clothing and home sales after being battered by the enforced closure of stores for many months.

Analysts at Barclays have said the financial year is "likely to have been a poor one from the point of view of the raw numbers" but that a small pre-tax profit will still have seemed a "decent outcome" at the height of the pandemic.

They added: "Moreover, the company has arguably had some positive achievements in the last year – with the Ocado switchover having gone well, with clothing and home sales transitioning online relatively smoothly, and with the cost structure being tackled.

"Of course, the share price has also bounced materially from its lows, so we now need some reassurance that sales trends are starting to recover and some greater confidence about the direction of profits and cash in the year ahead."

As part of a management shake-up, Katie Bickerstaffe and Stuart Machin will become joint chief operating officers to help lead the company's revival.

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