M&S to bolster digital channel after profits slump 10%

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

Struggling high street retailer Marks & Spencer said it will continue to invest in its digital site as it closes stores to battle falling sales in a tough market. 

M&S said 22 per cent of its UK Clothing & Home revenue now came from online, compared with 19 per cent last year.

The company disappointed investors by slashing its dividend by 25.7 per cent after the firm reported a 9.9 per cent fall in full year pre tax profits, to £523.2m from £580.9m last year.

Overall, group revenue at the company fell three per cent to £10.37 billion, from £10.69bn in 2018.

"We are deep into the first phase of our transformation programme and continue to make good progress restoring the basics and fixing many of the legacy issues we face”, said M&S CEO Steve Rowe. 

“As I have said, at this stage we are judging ourselves as much by the pace of change as by the trading outcomes and change will accelerate in the year ahead.

Rowe: Still trying to turn M&S' fortunes around

"Whilst there are green shoots, we have not been consistent in our delivery in a number of areas of the business. 

“M&S is changing faster than at any time in my career - substantial changes across the business to our processes, ranges and operations and this has constrained this year's performance, particularly in Clothing & Home.  

“However, we remain on track with our transformation and are now well on the road to making M&S special again."

Online growth

Despite the falling sales, M&S said it was investing more into becoming a ‘digital first’ retailer. 

It said it was beginning to address the basics of its website which has helped to deliver UK Clothing & Home online growth of 9.8 per cent in FY 18/19, improving its online clothing market share by 0.3 percentage points. 

“During Q3, when we had strong seasonal demand, growth was well into double digits”, the company said in its full year results statement.

M&S’ shares were 5.24 per cent lower at £2.57 in early trading on Wednesday.  

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