Marks & Spencer has unveiled plummeting profits for the 26 weeks to 1 October, once again blaming its struggling clothing arm for dragging on the rest of the business, and outlined plans to close 60 stores.
Group revenue was up by 0.9 per cent to £4.99bn from £4.95bn in the first half of last year.
However, underlying pre-tax profit was down 18.6 per cent to £231.3m from £284m and statutory pre-tax profit plunged by 88.4 per cent to £25.1m from £216m.
Underlying earnings per share fell 18.4 per cent to 11.5p from 14.1p, and basic earnings per share dropped 90.5 per cent to 1p from 10.5p this time last year.
The company now expects to spend around £400m over the full year, compared to previous guidance of £450m.
Shares in M&S dropped over one per cent at the open this morning, then recovered to jump 1.26 per cent on yesterday's closing price - but by mid-morning the stock was down 1.6 per cent.
Why it's interesting
While the British high street stalwart very much stayed on trend with its tactic of blaming its clothing arm for the massive dent in profits, it also outlined bigger plans to turn the business around.
This includes confirming that it will close a number of stores - 30 will shut completely in the UK, and 45 full line stores will be "downsized or replaced" as Simply Food stores. Together with relocations, the total number of full line UK stores will be reduced by 60.
M&S is also planning to exit ten loss-making international markets.
In summary, the company said: "At the end of five years, we will operate from fewer, better clothing & home stores, but from substantially more Simply Food stores. In total, M&S expects to have more stores, in more convenient locations for our customers, offering greater employment opportunities for employees."
What M&S said
Chief executive Steve Rowe said: "In May, we laid out a number of questions which we would answer as part of our strategic review. We committed to creating a simpler business with customers at its heart, and taking action to start to recover our clothing & home business and continue to grow in food.
"Our aim is to build a sustainable business which will delight our customers, provide a robust foundation for future growth and deliver value for our shareholders in the long term. We have made good progress on our plans and customers are already noticing a difference, particularly in clothing & home."