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Marks & Spencer boss awarded £2.5m pay deal


The boss of Marks & Spencer Marc Bolland was awarded a £2.5 million pay deal despite the retailer recording its first fall in profits in three years.

While the total package is a marked reduction on the previous year's pay for Mr Bolland, which totalled around £4.96 million, it comes after a year in which the Dutchman was forced to slash his sales targets.

Mr Bolland was awarded a salary of £975,000, an annual bonus of £332,000, the same amount in deferred shares and £500,000 left over from his golden handshake after joining from supermarket Morrisons, as well as other cash allowances and benefits.

Shareholders will be given an opportunity to vote on the remuneration report at the high street giant's annual meeting on July 10.

A number of top-flight companies, from banks to pharmaceutical firms, have faced significant investor anger over excessive boardroom pay in what was dubbed the "shareholder spring".

A failure to meet pre-tax profit targets for the year was behind the drop in the total pay package, although he was rewarded for meeting other targets encompassing areas such as cost-savings and developing the business overseas.

M&S saw underlying pre-tax profits drop 1 per cent to £705.9 million in the year to March 31, while total sales grew 2 per cent to £9.9 billion.

Mr Bolland set a target to grow revenues by between £1.5 billion and £2.5 billion over three years but as a result of the harsh economic climate cut this target to between £1.1 billion and £1.7 billion.

M&S saw its profits smash through the £1 billion barrier for the first time in a decade in 2008 but the financial crisis hurt shoppers and heralded an era of fierce discounting on the high street.

The dip in profits was the first fall since 2009 and comes hand in hand with a flat dividend award for shareholders of 17p.

Meanwhile, the group's share price is around 10 per cent lower than a year ago, limiting the level of return investors will receive on their stake.

While the squeeze on household incomes in the UK, where M&S has 700 stores, has driven the weaker performance, some analysts also placed a failure to keep up with its rivals in clothing, such as Next and Primark, at the heart of its problems.