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M&S hits billion pound profits but cautious on outlook

Marks & Spencer saw full year pre-tax profits hit £1.1 billion but fourth quarter trading fell back 1.7% like for like with general merchandise, including clothing, down 3.1% on a like for like basis.

M&S sales rose 5.1% to £9bn for the year ended March 29 with the UK up 4.2% and international sales ahead 16.8%.

UK like-for-like sales for the year were down 0.5%.

Chief executive Sir Stuart Rose was cautious about the outlook and said that the company had not met its internal bonus targets set in April 2007.

Rose said: "We expect market conditions to remain difficult for the forseeable future and are managing our business accordingly. Tight stock control and management of costs are a priority. M&S is well positioned to compete in this challenging market. We are giving our customers better value and more choice than ever before. Brand momentum continues to strengthen and we have made significant investment to improve the quality of our trading space."

Rose added: "Trading for the first seven weeks of the year has been mixed. April was, as expected, a difficult month, reflecting dramatically different weather patterns compared with the same period last year. May to date has shown a marked improvement although we remain cautious about consumer sentiment."

To read the full preliminary results statement click the attached PDF document.

For more on M&S' results see this weeks' issue of Drapers' magazine.

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