Outlook: Marks & Spencer
Tuesday 28 September 1999
On this basis, we are due one more Exocet from Marks & Spencer before it is really time to buy. There have been two of the blighters in a year now, a 12-month period which has seen a quite breathtaking fall from grace for this former housewives' favourite. Already down from 664p to 315.5p in 18 months, WestLB Panmure yesterday put a new 280p price target on the stock. Don't expect it to get there in a hurry, though, because such is the scale and fanaticism of the M&S investment fan club that private investors and fund managers alike cannot resist piling in on every wobble, not withstanding the wait for the third profits warning rule.
Could there really be more bad news to come? If the City began to feel the dividend was under threat, then things might seriously slip. The dividend is barely covered by earnings as it is, and if trading does not improve soon, the doubts will grow. Such would be the outcry from M&S army of shareholders that we must assume this is still unthinkable in the M&S boardroom. As it is, the shares now yield almost 5 per cent and M&S has suffered the indignity of becoming a yield stock.
Big names can reinvent themselves. Just look at Dixons as evidence of that, and even fuddy-duddy old WH Smith is now regarded as a quasi-Internet stock. M&S has genuine recovery potential but more fresh blood needs to be brought in to make it happen. Analysts complain that M&S is a case of the same old people making the same old mistakes. Worse still, some of the best people are leaving, as always occurs when a ship begins to sink.
The board is trying desperately hard, and at least there is now a marketing director. But many recent "initiatives" look too little, too late. The decision finally to mirror changes in retail spending habits and go into mobile phones is an example. On this evidence, what odds on an M&S move into free Internet access provision? Stmichael.com anyone? Next year, maybe.
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance
Actress sees off speculation about her face in an amazing way
Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online
The sound of Goodfellas mafioso Frankie Carbone demanding $250m in “damages” would be chilling enough on film, let alone in real life.
- 1 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 2 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 3 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after treatment by British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis
Ottawa shooting: Canadian soldier dies after being shot at National War Memorial – with one gunman killed inside parliament
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Diwali: What is the festival of lights and how is it celebrated around the world?
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
iJobs Money & Business
£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £Competitive: SThree: SThree Group and have be...