Sales at Marks & Spencer’s general merchandise arm have fallen yet again, with sales down 2.4% as profits fells to the lowest point in eight years.
The business reported a rise in group sales of 1.3% to £10bn for the year to March 30, but gains made within food were dampened by the continued declines in GM, which includes clothing, as well as home and beauty.
Like for likes fell even further, with GM down 4.1%, pushing UK sales across all divisions down 1%.
Underlying pre-tax profits were down to £665.2m, a further decline on the pro-forma figure of £687.2m reported last year. Statutory pre-tax profits fell from £658m in 2011/2012 to £564.3m, and net debt rose from £2.5bn to £2.6bn.
Multichannel sales were up 16.6%, while international sales grew 4.5%
M&S said it faced “difficult trading conditions over the course of last year, with a highly promotional clothing market and unseasonal weather”.
Chief executive Marc Bolland acknowledged that while other parts of the business were performing well, M&S still had work to do on its womenswear division.
“We are working hard to get our GM performance back on track,” he said this morning, noting the “strong support” for M&S’ autumn 13 collection previewed last week.