Marks & Spencer Group plc (MKS) Ordinary 25p
HL comment (5 November 2013)
Register to receive our Marks & Spencer updates direct to your inbox. Please note, you will automatically receive our updates if you hold Marks & Spencer shares in Vantage.
- M&S reported an 8.9% fall underlying profits before tax to £261.6 million vs £287.3 million a year ago.
- Total group sales advanced to £4.9 billion, from £4.7 billion in the same period a year earlier.
- The board have proposed retaining the interim dividend of 6.2p per share.
- Group net debt stood at £2.7 billion as at 28 Sept, which compared to £2.62 billion a year earlier.
- Marc Bolland, Chief Executive of Marks & Spencer said the company "remains cautious" about the economic outlook and added "while consumer confidence appears to be improving, there is little evidence as yet of this translating to increased spending in the retail sector".
- Like-for-like sales in General Merchandise were down 1.5% compared with the same period last year, despite the group's launch of its autumn/winter ranges in September. It was the retailer's ninth consecutive fall in General Merchandise quarterly sales which includes clothing and homeware.
- Unlike some rivals, M&S does not have a material online food proposition.
- Continuing pressure on consumers' disposable income remains a concern for many British retailers.
- UK operating costs were 4.1% higher than a year ago, due in part to pressures from new space, inflation and investment within the business.
- M&S's food business, which contributes over half of group sales, is performing well. Its sales on the same basis rose 3.2%, at the top end of analyst forecasts.
- International sales performed well with sales up 8%, driven by its priority markets in Asia, with India and China delivering robust like-for-like growth. 26 international stores were opened in the half-year with a further 50 to follow in the second half.
- Key territories within the group's franchise business continued to perform well with sales up 8.2%.
- Within the group's multi-channel segment, sales advanced 28.5%, comfortably outperforming market growth with 55% of orders now collected in store.
- The board adopts a dividend policy which remains attractive in the current low interest rate environment, with a yield of 3.5% as of 5th November (not guaranteed).
All yield figures are variable and not guaranteed.
Recently viewed shares
Recently viewed investments
wealth 150 fund
The Wealth 150 is a list of what we believe to be the best funds in each sector. For a fund to be selected for the Wealth 150 it must pass a rigorous selection process, and we continually monitor the list to ensure it only contains the very best funds.