Blog: Leonie BarrieMarks without sparks

Leonie Barrie | 9 November 2004

While there were few surprises in Mark’s and Spencer’s interim results today, perhaps the fact that it didn’t issue a profit warning could be seen as grounds for optimism. I never thought I’d be writing a statement like that in the heady days when it hit the £1 billion profit mark! What has taken the market by surprise, though, were the management changes announced today - Alison Reed (FD), Laurel Powers-Freeling (Money), Maurice Helfgott (menswear, Kidswear & Home), and Mark McKeon (International) are among those departing – a move that clearly concentrates power in the hands of chief executive Stuart Rose.

In its analysis of the situation Baird points out that there is no guidance on current trading, other than saying it “has become more difficult since we last updated on current trading on 12 October.” The statement overall is really rather short on meat, Baird says, and the perspective is very much the glass is half full: “Where there are challenges, I can see opportunity.” We doubt the market shares Rose's optimism, at least in the short-term.


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