M&S's profit slumps as clothing sales tumble

With people mostly staying at home for the past year, clothing sales tumbled at British retailer Marks & Spencer.

The company reported an 88% slump in full-year profit on Wednesday (May 26), but it said it was making progress with its turnaround plan

M&S said it had traded well in the early weeks of the current financial year, and that profits would recover.

Its shares were up more than 6% in morning trade.

The 137-year old group said like-for-like clothing and homeware sales plunged 31.5%, mainly due to ongoing lockdowns which shuttered stores across the country.

However, as its upmarket food halls were allowed to stay open during the crisis, like-for-like food sales rose 1.3%.

CEO Steve Rowe has been driving the chain's latest attempt at a reinvention after decades of failures.

Along with chairman Archie Norman, he's focusing on transforming the company's culture, while closing stores, investing heavily in technology and e-commerce, and improving product and value to broaden its appeal.

Rowe now expects online penetration of its clothing and home business to reach up to 50%, and as a result he said M&S was taking a careful look at the size of its store estate.

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