M&S profits soar to £522.9m as online sales jump by 55%

M&S has reported a “strong all-round performance”, driven in part by a 55% increase in online sales across clothing and home.

Both profits and sales recorded  in the 12-month period ending 28 March beat pre-Covid levels. Pre-tax profits of £522.9m were almost 30% up from the pre-Covid figure of £403.1m of two years ago.

Sales jumped 6.9% to £10.9bn over the same period, bolstered by a 55.6% increase in online sales across clothing and home, with ecommerce now accounting for 34% of all UK clothing and home sales. 

The online fashion brands platform – which includes Nobody’s Child, Sosandar, Hobbs and Jack & Jones as well as Clarks, Hype and Smiggle – now boasts around 40 clothing brand partnerships.

M&S’ MS2 division made multiple improvements to the retailer’s online offer and service, with around 11% of orders fulfilled from store. The AI-driven Sparks loyalty programme has grown to 15m members – with more than 4m app users – as it begins to personalise the digital customer experience.

The current model sees M&S in the very early stages of transitioning to an omni-channel business backed by data and personalised customer relationships, with a more sustainable, profitable model starting to emerge. Around 8% of M&S sales are driven by personalisation.

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International online sales saw significant growth over the period, rising to more than £250m, up from £100m pre-Covid.

Marks & Spencer also said it will be fully withdrawing from its Russian franchise business, which operates 48 shops and has 1,200 employees across the territory. The company stopped shipments to the stores back in March but has now said it will “fully exit” the country, at a total cost of £31 million.

Profits for the new financial year will start at a lower level as a result of this withdrawal and the end of the business rates holiday.

M&S chief executive Steve Rowe is stepping down today, with Stuart Machin and Katie Bickerstaffe taking over as co-chief executives.

In his final statement for the retail group, Rowe said he had been “committed to tackling the underlying issues that had eroded the strength of the business” over the past six years, as he built “foundations for future growth”.

“For me, what is important about these results is not just the restoration of profit and strong cash flow; it is that they demonstrate that M&S has fundamentally changed,” he said.

“While there is much more to do, the business has moved beyond proving its relevance and has the opportunity for substantial future growth. It has been my privilege to be the steward and shopkeeper of this fantastic business and extraordinary brand at such an important stage in its history.”

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