Half-year profits rise bolsters M&S

Marks & Spencer’s embattled boss highlighted signs of progress today after the high street chain posted a surprise rise in half-year profits.

Half-year profits rise bolsters M&S

Marks & Spencer’s embattled boss highlighted signs of progress today after the high street chain posted a surprise rise in half-year profits.

Marc Bolland pointed to an improving trend in womenswear following “increasingly positive feedback” from customers, although like-for-like clothing sales were still down 2.2% in the six months to September 27.

M&S said its food business continued to outperform the market with a 1% rise in sales, despite the competition impacting on supermarket rivals.

Across the group, sales rose 1% to £4.9bn (€6.2bn) and underlying profits lifted 2.3% to £268m (€342m), 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.”

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