Revealing the group’s annual results today, the new Chief Executive of M&S outlined his plans to revive the group’s ailing clothing and homewares business.
Steve Rowe said M&S would focus on putting customers at the heart of the business and driving sales growth. Measures include improving product quality and investing in lowering everyday prices whilst reducing the number of promotions and sales. It also intends to improve availability and invest in store staffing.
Commenting on its better-performing food business, Rowe said M&S would build on its strengths of innovation, quality and choice. He also committed to competitive pricing and extending its Simply Food store opening programme.
However, Rowe warned that the changes would hit profits, sending the group’s shares down nearly 8% this morning. He said: “These actions, combined with the difficult trading conditions, will have an adverse effect on profit in the short term,” adding: “We are, however, confident that our commitment to delivering the right product, price and service will help return clothing and home sales to growth.”
The turnaround plans were announced as M&S reported that its underlying profits in the year to 2 April rose 4.3% to £689m on turnover up 2.5% to £10.6bn.
Like-for-like sales for year were down 2.9% in its clothing & home division, whilst food saw growth of 0.2%