M&S suffers £200MILLION losses lockdown sales plunge

M&S suffers £200MILLION annual losses with retail clothing and home sales down a third due to stores being shut in lockdown – but food sales soared 7% after tie-up with Ocado

  • Historic retailer tumbled to a £201.2 million pre-tax loss for the year to March 27 
  • Came after clothing and home business hammered by pandemic restrictions 
  • Revenues dropped after this slump offset an improvement in its food operations 

Marks & Spencer has swung to a hefty loss for the past year following pandemic store closures as bosses said the business has moved to the ‘next phase’ of its transformation plan.

The historic retailer tumbled to a £201.2 million pre-tax loss for the 52 weeks to March 27 after its clothing and home business was particularly hammered by pandemic restrictions.

The group told shareholders that total revenues dropped after this slump offset a 7% increase in food sales following a tie-up with Ocado. 

Marks & Spencer today said it swung to a £201.2 million pre-tax loss for the year to the end of March after clothing and home sales plunged amid pandemic store closures

It reported that food like-for-like revenues increased by 1.3% over the past year, but the company saw its clothing and home business report a 31.5% slump despite rapid online growth. 

The retailer said its balance sheet is also ‘stronger than expected’ following the impact of the pandemic.

The detail of the figures demonstrates the impact of lockdown, with city centre food sales dropping by a third and in high street shops by 20%. Meanwhile, out of town stores and supermarkets saw increases. 

Steve Rowe, chief executive at Marks & Spencer, said: ‘In a year like no other we have delivered a resilient trading performance, thanks in no small part to the extraordinary efforts of our colleagues.

‘In addition, by going further and faster in our transformation through the Never the Same Again programme, we moved beyond fixing the basics to forge a reshaped M&S.

‘With the right team in place to accelerate change in the trading businesses and build a trajectory for future growth, we now have a clear line of sight on the path to make M&S special again.

‘The transformation has moved to the next phase.’  

Steve Rowe, M&S CEO pictured (right) with Tim Steiner, Ocado CEO. The high street giant’s annual sales figures benefited from the tie up with the online delivery service 

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