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Pre-tax profits down at Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer has reported pre-tax profits of £658m down from £780.6m last year - its first dip in profits for three years.

Group sales for the year to the end of March, however, were up 2% to £9.9bn, with total UK sales up 1.5%. General merchandise was down 0.9%, let down mainly by a poorer home performance, down 10%. Clothing performed better, up 2%.

On a like-for-like basis, total UK sales were up 1.5% and general merchandise was down 1.8%.

M&S chief executive Marc Bolland, said in a statement:

Marks & Spencer performed well in a challenging economic environment, growing group sales by 2% and holding market share. We also made good progress with our strategic plans.

“We managed the business prudently with tight control of costs and capital investment, delivering earnings in line with last year, and substantial efficiency savings in our capital investment plans.

“Whilst the economic environment has deteriorated since we first set out our strategic plans, we have made significant progress. Our UK pilot stores are delivering good results, which has given us the confidence to launch phase two of the programme. We are well on track to become a truly international multi-channel retailer. By the end of this year we will be transacting from 10 websites worldwide and opening around 100 international stores per year.”

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