M&S set to outline plans for growth alongside profit rise

Marion Dakers
HIGH STREET stalwart Marks & Spencer is expected to post a 12 per cent rise in full-year profit tomorrow, as the retailer outlines plans for growth overseas and online.

M&S is likely to post a £710m pre-tax profit, according to consensus estimates, which is set to lead to a rise in its dividend to 16.5p, up from 15p last year.

The retailer will unveil how much the warm April weather boosted sales, following peer Next’s bullish update earlier this month, and whether the rising global price of cotton will lead to price hikes instore.

A year into his role as chief executive, Marc Bolland is also expected to announce further plans for expansion in his debut full-year results.

He has already poached Laura Wade-Gery from supermarket group Tesco to head M&S’s internet business, and Jan Heere from Spanish fashion group Inditex to lead its push overseas, as he seeks to double sales in both divisions to about £1bn by 2013-14.

Head of non-food, Kate Bostock, insisted in an interview published yesterday that the firm is stable at the top, despite reports that several internal candidates battled it out to replace Sir Stuart Rose as chief executive.

“I didn’t honestly want to do that job. I think that role in M&S is not for me. And I love the job I’ve got,” Bostock told the Sunday Telegraph.

High-end retailer Burberry, due to report its own full-year results on Thursday, is expected to report a 40 per cent surge in profit as emerging markets continue to snap up the designer’s clothing lines.

Analysts expect the firm to report an underlying profit of £300m, with all eyes on Burberry’s outlook for Japan, after disruption caused by March’s earthquake caused shares in the firm to sink nine per cent in a week.