Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Shares Rise after M&S Sees Profits Increase

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Shares Rise after M&S Sees Profits Increase

Article excerpt

MARKS & Spencer pointed to signs of improved trading in womenswear as it battles to end three years of declining clothing sales.

Shares surged by as much as 10% after chief executive Marc Bolland revealed a surprise rise in half-year profits, although the group still registered a 13th consecutive quarter of falling sales in its clothing division.

Mr Bolland, who joined the company in 2010, highlighted an improving trend in womenswear following "increasingly positive feedback" from customers, with sales up 1.3% when excluding an unseasonably warm September.

Across the group, sales rose 1% to PS4.9bn in the six months to September 27 and underlying profits lifted 2.3% to PS268m, compared with City expectations for a decline.

Mr Bolland said: "M&S delivered sales growth and increased profit in the first half despite a tough market, particularly in September. We are pleased with the progress we have made against our key priorities for the year."

m&S said its food business continued to outperform the market with a 1% rise in like-for-like sales, as its high-end positioning has allowed the retailer to avoid being dragged into the ongoing supermarket price war. …

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