M&S records first loss in 94 years

British high street stalwart Marks & Spencer reported the first loss in its nearly 100 years as a publicly listed company on Wednesday (November 4).

That after clothing sales were hammered by restrictions on shopping.

An encouraging performance in food, however, sent its battered shares higher.

The stock rose around 5%, as investors took comfort that the half year loss was not as bad as feared.

There have also been positive signs following the initial success of a partnership with online retailer Ocado.

CEO Steve Rowe said the September launch of the venture had gone "fantastically," with customer reaction ahead of expectations.

M&S has been struggling to reinvent itself after decades of failed attempts, even before this year's global slowdown.

In May, it said the crisis would change its business and accelerate the latest turnaround plan, delivering three years of change in one.

It also cut 7,000 jobs in August.

M&S made a pretax loss of $22.6 million before one-off items in the 26 weeks to Sept. 26 - its first deficit since joining the stock market in 1926.

The outcome was ahead of analyst forecasts, but a reversal from profits in the same period last year.

Clothing and homeware revenue slumped over 40% as shoppers were forced to stay home in the spring.