Blog: Leonie BarrieA mixed bag at M&S

Leonie Barrie | 22 May 2007

The good news is that Marks & Spencer’s recovery is gathering pace, with the UK’s biggest clothing retailer today posting full year profits up 28.5% to a nine-year high of GBP965.2m. Nearly back to the levels seen before it hit a trading blackspot in the late 1990s, the store group is also continuing to steal all-important market share from its competitors, particularly in children’s wear where it reported its first gain for six years. And the number of shoppers visiting M&S stores continues to rise, with 16m people a week now passing through its doors.

But there is bad news too. With a reticence – or should that be realism? – that we’ve come to expect from its CEO, Stuart Rose today warned that things are likely to get tougher this year. A challenging retail environment, tough comparatives and rising interest rates mean that M&S will be hard pushed to maintain the increases that have already led to seven straight quarters of growth. And a slower rise in same-store sales in the fourth quarter (clothing rose 4.6%, down from 7.1% growth in the third quarter) suggests this is indeed starting to happen.

M&S isn’t alone, of course, in having to face up to these challenges, and Rose identified the company as one of four UK retailers who are still increasing their share of the clothing market – the others being Tesco, Primark chain and New Look.

It is also optimistically forging ahead with store refurbishments and expansion plans in a bid to drum up more business. Internationally, M&S is looking at potential markets in Europe and the Indian sub-continent, and it has appointed Martha Lane Fox, one of the founders of Lastminute.com as a non-executive director whose experience should help increase e-commerce sales.

Strong clothing sales push M&S FY profit up 28.5%


BLOG

US border tax a contentious issue

Fresh from their disappointment at seeing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal abandoned last month with an executive order by President Donald Trump, the US apparel and footwear sector...

BLOG

Primark's sustainable cotton programme takes shape

With the ultimate aim of ensuring all the cotton in its products is sourced sustainably, value clothing retailer Primark is adamant that having a business model focused on offering the lowest prices o...

BLOG

Trump administration starts to shake up trade

Last week we marked the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States by taking a closer look at what's at stake for the textile and apparel trade – especially his promises t...

BLOG

Likely shifts in the sourcing landscape in 2017

Continuing our look at what lies ahead for the apparel industry and its supply chain in 2017, the panel of industry experts consulted by just-style last week tackled likely shifts in the sourcing land...

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?