M&S to Close More Than 100 Stores Amid Online Push

M&S to Close More Than 100 Stores Amid Online Push

M&S to Close More Than 100 Stores Amid Online Push

Shares were up over 5% following the results, but experts warned that M&S could drop out of the FTSE 100.

However, the M&S boss highlighted that these changes come with costs, which were reflected in Wednesday's results.

Primark is set to overtake M&S to become the UK's largest clothing retailer by market share, according to new data.

Then in November previous year, three months after retail veteran Archie Norman joined as chairman, the firm said it would speed-up the programme.

On Tuesday M&S said it would close 100 United Kingdom stores by 2022, as it strives to make at least a third of clothing and home sales online.

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The high street chain's pre-tax profits have plunged 62.1 per cent to £66.8 million after £514.1 million of exceptional charges, including £321.1 million linked to its store closure programme.

Group revenue, however, rose 0.7 per cent rise year-on-year from £10.62 billion to £10.69 billion and total sales in its food division were up 3.9 per cent.

Prior to Wednesday's update analysts were on average forecasting an underlying pretax profit of 555 million pounds for 2018-19.

Food margins are expected to remain under pressure in fiscal year 2019, with the company predicting a decline of up to 50 basis points.

"There are a number of structural issues to address and we are taking steps towards fixing these", said chief executive Steve Rowe.

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M&S highlighted the continued migration of shopping for clothing and home online, together with the development of global competition and discounters as threats to its business and market position, which led to the decision to accelerate its transformation plan to modernise its business.

"The team is now tackling transforming our culture to make M&S a faster, lower cost, more commercial, more digital business", he said, targeting sustainable, profitable growth in three to five years. "Accelerated change is the only option", M&S said in a statement. Under the plan, M&S has the ambition to create fewer, better Clothing & Home stores.

M&S is also improving its website and investing in its e-commerce capacity, including a site at Castle Donington, with the aim of doubling its online share of clothing and home sales to more than 33%.

"Until recently the food business was the bright spark which kept hopes for growth from M&S alive, but now that seems to have dimmed too", said Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

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