M&S reports flat profits

| November 4, 2009 | 0 Comments
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British retailing giant, Marks and Spencer (M&S), has reported flat profits for the six month period to September 28 and said it is cautious about the year ahead.

While profits were at the top end of analysts forecasts, profit before tax and one-off items was £298.3 million.

In a statement Chairman Stuart Rose said: “We have had a good start to the third quarter. However, the market remains competitive and, as we come up against volatile trading conditions last year, we remain cautious about the outlook for Christmas and the year ahead.”

The 125-year-old firm, which sells clothes, food and homewares, is suffering as discount chains continue to steal market share from the company.

The economic downturn has meant that clothes shoppers have opted for cheaper alternatives and Asda’s George and discount clothing retailer Primark have overtaken M&S as the nation’s first and second favourite clothes shops.

M&S, which operates from over 650 stores in Britain and around 300 overseas, said sales rose 2.8% to £4.3 billion - largely driven by growth outside the UK.

Last month, the company revealed it is considering establishing an online food shopping service.

It has been toying with the idea for some time but opted out due to the costs associated with setting up the service.

“Food online is something our customers clearly want so it is inevitable that we will take our food offer online at some point,” said the company.

In other news today, fashion retailer Next exceeded analysts expectations today by reporting better than expected third quarter sales.

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