M&S profit up 13pc

Retailer Marks & Spencer plans to test new store formats more tailored to their localities, it said, as it posted a 13 per cent rise in annual profit.

The country's biggest clothing retailer, which also sells upmarket foods and homewares, said it would start testing the new formats from October, as part of a series of initiatives aimed at countering difficult trading conditions.

"We have had a good start to the new financial year but we expect trading conditions in the year ahead to be challenging due to rising pressure on consumers' disposable incomes and high commodity prices," it said.

Marks & Spencer said it made profit before tax and one-off items of £714.3m in the year ended 2 April, just ahead of analysts' average forecast of £710m in a company poll.