NO SOONER Had Judi Bevan's the Rise and Fall of Marks &Amp; Spencer Been Published Last Autumn, Than She Had to Dash out a Further Chapter for the Paperback Edition, Updating the Company's Return to Form

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NO SOONER had Judi Bevans The Rise And Fall Of Marks & Spencer been published last autumn, than she had to dash out a further chapter for the paperback edition, updating the companys return to form.

The chapter Bevan has yet to write is whether M&S, under Luc Vandevelde, can return to the heights of 1998 when it enjoyed pre-tax profits of pound sterling1.1bn and a market capitalisation of almost pound sterling17bn.

So far, the recovery has been sharp and results impressive. They show a 30% like-for-like rise in profits to pound sterling646m on the back of pound sterling7.62bn revenues, driven by the return to form of its clothing lines. In the last quarter to 30 March, a 16.5% rise in clothing and footwear sales was posted: double the average.

Measuring the extent of Vandeveldes contribution to the turnround is more challenging. No retailer, with the possible exception of Mothercare, could fail to make money given the length and strength of the boom in consumer spending.

Vandevelde admits he has challenges ahead and is trying to suggest that growth will return to levels closer to 5%. …