M&S to reveal new masterplan

MARKS & SPENCER will tomorrow unveil its blueprint for expansion with new chief executive Marc Bolland at the helm.

The retail giant’s half-year results mark the start of a new era as Bolland shapes the company’s future – with international expansion expected to be high on the agenda.

Analysts and investors are expecting a detailed vision as well as figures showing that the company is going in the right direction even as UK consumers rein in their spending.

UK operating profit is forecast to be up by 8.7 per cent to £325m while like-for-like sales are expected to have climbed by 4.5 per cent, with clothing and home up by 6.5 per cent and food 2.6 per cent.

The like-for-like sales performance has been stronger than expected according to analysts, with advertising campaigns and new products paying off.

Meanwhile International operating profit is forecast to be up by 10.6 per cent to £73m. The company is targeting £250m in savings through more efficient IT systems and Bolland will have a keen eye on costs.

Sam Hart, retail analyst at Charles Stanley said: “M&S comments are expected to be relatively cautious, with management likely to highlight the potentially negative impact of the forthcoming Vat increase and other government austerity measures on spending. It is almost inevitable that sales momentum at M&S will slow.”