Marks & Spencer achieved a 12.9% increase in underlying pre-tax profits of £714m in the year to April 2, the company revealed today.
Revenues at the chain, which operates 600 stores in the UK and 300 overseas, were up 4.0% in the UK and 6.1% internationally, with group sales rising to £9.7bn. Underlying operating profit, adjusted for exceptional costs, rose 5.9% to £824.9m.
The best performer over the year was general merchandise, which saw like-for-like sales growth of 3.2%, while food was up 2.6% on a like-for-like basis.
M&S also said that it had won market share despite “challenging” high street conditions. Its slice of the clothing market rose 0.5% to 11.7% while its food market share was up 0.1% to 3.9%.
M&S Direct sales put on 31% over the 12 months, compared to overall online market growth of 20% during the period.
Chief executive Marc Bolland, delivering his first annual results at M&S since joining the company from Morrisons, said: “We traded well in a challenging environment, growing our market share in both clothing and food. We did this by offering customers great quality and value, and more choice through innovation.
“In November we set out our plan to grow M&S into a truly international, multichannel retailer. We have made good early progress and are focused on both trading the business in the short term and on delivering against our long-term targets.”
The company said it had had a good start to the new financial year but that it expected trading conditions in the year ahead to be challenging due to rising pressure on consumers’ disposable incomes and high commodity prices.