British retailer Marks & Spencer said on Wednesday it would accelerate its latest turnaround programme as it dealt with the fallout from the coronavirus crisis and reported a 21% fall in annual profit.
The firm said in the light of the prolonged partial or total lockdown envisaged in its Covid-19 scenario, it had taken action totalling about 1 billion pounds ($1.23 billion) relative to its original budget to reduce costs and manage cash.
M&S made a pretax profit before one-off items of 403 million pounds in its year to March 28, down from 512 million pounds in 2018-19.
The company said its £1bn of actions included £500m of planned cost reductions and an acceleration in the “re-shaping” of its stores.
The 2019/20 financial year was crucial as M&S closed dozens of under-performing stores and invested in digital systems to refocus its customer offering as it adapted to new ways of working as the lockdown began in March.