Britain’s Marks & Spencer on Wednesday reported a 17% drop in first-half profit, dragged down by falling clothing sales, illustrating the bumpy path of its latest attempt at a turnaround after over a decade of false dawns.
Shares in the 135-year-old M&S, one of the best known names in British retail, have fallen 36% over the last year and in September the group lost its place in the prestigious FTSE 100 index.
The group forecast some improvement in trading in its second half but cautioned that market conditions remained challenging.
M&S made a pretax profit before one-off items of 176.5 million pounds ($227.3 million) in the six months to Sept. 28. That was in line with analysts’ average forecast but down from 213.0 million pounds made in the same period last year.
First-half clothing and home like-for-like sales fell 5.5%, impacted by availability and supply chain issues. Food sales increased 0.9% on the same basis, driven by volume as prices were cut.
The group said it had seen an improved sales performance in October in clothing and home.