Marks & Spencer braced for drop in profits

 

Marks & Spencer boss Marc Bolland is set to come under
increased pressure from investors tomorrow as the retail chain unveils
its first fall in annual profits for three years.

Despite efforts to pull in customers with celebrity-laden advertising campaigns, featuring the likes of actresses Joanna Lumley and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and actor Ryan Reynolds, sales of general merchandise have fallen in the last year.

Mr Bolland, who is reportedly set to pocket a combined pay package of around £6 million this year, has been told by analysts that sales targets he set in November 2010 may be too ambitious.

The squeeze on household incomes in the UK, where M&S has 700 stores, is likely to take some of the blame for the weaker performance, but a failure to keep up with its rivals in clothing, such as Next and Primark, is also at the root of its problems.

Nick Bubb, independent retail analyst, said: "In all, he has not delivered the sales he needs with his three-year target. The focus is on whether he will admit that the year has started badly."

The group is forecast to report a 3% fall in pre-tax profits to £694 million in the year to the end of March, while sales are likely to be around £9.9 billion.

Mr Bolland is expected to step back from his goal to boost sales to between £11.2 billion and £12.2 billion by 2014 as the economic headwinds show no sign of abating.

But the share price at 339p is 10% higher than it was at the start of the year and while like-for-like sales of general merchandise are expected to have fallen by about 1.7% in the period, food sales have put in a much stronger performance.

Clive Black, an analyst at Shore Capital, said: "Against this somewhat gloomy backdrop and current situation we believe that M&S has toughed it out reasonably well.

"Whilst trading momentum for 2011/12 was far from stellar, the business performed robustly in clothing and general merchandising, given market conditions, while the food business did well to outperform a tough sector."

The group has said its prospects look brighter as the Diamond Jubilee, Euro 2012 football championships and Olympics will play into its hands by giving cause for celebration over the summer.

It has also seen encouraging demand for new lines from model Twiggy and those seen in a new advert featuring singer and model Myleene Klass and former X-factor judge Dannii Minogue in which Gary Barlow sings the Beatles classic Here Comes The Sun.

However, there are fears the wet weather in April and early May will have hit Marks' recent trading, adding to the pressure on the company from the squeeze in consumer spending.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Nadine Gordimer died peacefully at home yesterday
people
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Paolo Nutini performs at T in the Park
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Sales Executive - Central London /Home working - £20K-£40K

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Sales Executive - Ce...

HR Advisor - 6 months FTC Wimbledon, SW London

£35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - 6 Months Fix...

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor