Britain's M&S sees profit fall for second straight year

Britain's M&S sees profit fall for second straight year

The closures will affect its clothing and home stores, which have underperformed for years.

Elsewhere, outlets in Bayswater, Fleetwood, Newton Abbot, Darlington, East Kilbride, Falkirk, Kettering, Newmarket, New Mersey Speke, Northampton, Stockton, Walsall and two in London have all entered into a period of consultation with all 626 affected employees. "Where we have closed stores, we are seeing an encouraging number of customers moving to nearby stores and enjoying shopping with us in a better environment, which is why we're continuing to transform our estate with pace".

The three relocations were in Greenock, Newry and Crewe.

The high-street chain which has a total of one thousand and thirty-five stores at the end of 2017-18 fiscal year, would be publishing its yearly results today.

This latest wave of closures will feel like a body blow to locations that are already under pressure.

Chief executive Steve Rowe said the "need for change is urgent".

But this business still has a massive task in reviving its fortunes and tomorrow's annual results will be further proof of that.

They added: "Other key areas of focus are likely to be the performance of the new Robinson's range extension, an update on the progress of the U.S. multi-pack Fruit Shoot penetration, the implications for H2 margins (if any) in light of recent moves in input costs, namely PET, aluminium and sugar and finally its view of the consolidation in the United Kingdom grocery retail market". It had meant to open 40 stores this financial year, but has cut that number to 25.

Commenting on the results Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown (Frankfurt: DMB.F - news), said M&S investors were essentially being asked to take a "leap of faith". "Having a huge store estate is no longer the powerful retail force that it once was".

The supermarket chain reported a 5.4pc fall in full-year profit, a second straight decline, hurt by a weakening in the food profit margin. Analysts are expecting pre-tax profits of £573m, which would be down from £613m in the previous financial year.

The shares were up 2.02pc at 297.7p mid-morning. But Rowe admitted neither the website, which had a £150m revamp four years ago, or the hi-tech warehouse built in Castle Donington, Leicestershire, to support it were up to the job and more investment was now needed.

This will see it come perilously close to losing its crown as Britain's largest clothing retailer to Primark.

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