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23 May 2018, 06:27 | Tara Lloyd
Marks & Spencer has reported a 62.1% fall in pre-tax profit to £66.8 million in the year to March 31
As of 08:35 BST, Marks & Spencer's share price had added 5.18 percent to 306.91p. "These changes come with short term costs which are reflected in today's results", said Steve Rowe, Marks & Spencer CEO in a statement.
As of the end of March, the retailer had 1,035 United Kingdom stores, made up of 300 clothing, home and food stores, 696 food-only stores and 39 outlets.
M&S shares have fallen 26 percent over the past year and it risks being booted out of the FTSE 100 index as it is now worth less than both online grocer Ocado and online fashion website ASOS, starkly illustrating how shopping habits have changed in only a decade.
Prior to Wednesday's update, analysts were on average forecasting an underlying pretax profit of 555 million pounds for 2018-19, which would be a third straight year of decline.
After taking account of adjusted items of 514.1 million pounds, including the charge relating to store closures, pretax profit was 66.8 million pounds, a 62 percent fall.
Yesterday, M&S said it would close 100 United Kingdom stores by 2022, further accelerating the plan as it strives to make at least a third of sales online.
Group revenue, however, rose 0.7 per cent rise year-on-year from £10.62 billion to £10.69 billion and total sales in its food division were up 3.9 per cent.
M&S warned that an increasing shift in consumer behaviour towards online shopping for fashion, growth in home food delivery and competition from discounters Aldi and Lidl "all amount to threats to our business and market position".
"We have to modernise our business to ensure we are competitive and reignite our culture".
"In the previous year traditional retailers like Marks have faced a ideal storm of rising costs, a constrained consumer, and the relentless growth of online competition", said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Laith Khalaf.
M&S is also improving its website and investing in its e-commerce capacity, including a site at Castle Donington, with the aim of doubling its online share of clothing and home sales to more than 33%.
"Alongside relocations, conversions, downsizes and the introduction of concessions, these closures will radically reshape M&S's clothing and home space", the firm said.
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