M&S lifts profit outlook as new strategy delivers

LONDON (Reuters): British retailer Marks & Spencer upgraded its profit outlook on Friday after shoppers returned to its food halls and went online for clothing, adding to signs that its latest turnaround plan is working.

The 137-year-old chain, one of the biggest names on the British high street, said that while there was an element of pent-up consumer demand, its offering was proving popular after several previous transformation programmes failed.

“Assuming no further COVID-related restrictions on trading, at this early stage we expect adjusted profit before tax for the year to be above the upper end of previous guidance of 300-350 million pounds ($409-$477 million),” it said in an unscheduled statement.

M&S has focused on transforming its culture, improving the quality and value of its clothing and food products, while reshaping its store estate and investing in technology and e-commerce, including a venture with online supermarket Ocado.

In the 19 weeks to Aug. 14, it’s clothing and home division revenue jumped 92.2% on last year and was down just 2.6 on the pre-pandemic 2019.

Food revenue jumped 10.8% on last year and 9.6% on the year before, with cost reduction programmes helping to offset inflation and disruption in the supply chain.

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