Marks and Spencer Group Plc announces Quarter 3 2016/17 trading statement

LONDON, 2017-Feb-14 — /EPR Retail News/ —

Marks and Spencer Group Plc
Quarter 3 2016/17 Trading Statement
13 Weeks to 31 December 2016*

Third quarter sales   Total Like-for-like1
Food 5.6% 0.6%
Clothing & Home 3.1% 2.3%
Total UK 4.5% 1.3%
International (reported) 18.9%
International (constant currency) 2.9%
Group (reported) 5.9%
Group (constant currency) 4.3%
M& (constant currency, memo only) 9.4%

*Third quarter sales are for 13 weeks to 31 December 2016 compared with 13 weeks to 26 December 2015, owing to last year’s 53 week financial year.  We estimate this had a positive effect of c.1.5% on Clothing & Home sales and c.0.3% on Food sales

Steve Rowe, Chief Executive, said:

“I am pleased with the customer response we have seen to the changes we are making in line with our plan for the business.  I would like to thank the whole team for their hard work over this busy period.

“In Clothing & Home, better ranges, better availability and better prices helped to improve our performance in a difficult marketplace. We also continued to substantially reduce discounting, including over Black Friday.

“Our Food business continues to grow market share with customers recognising our product as special and different.  Our Simply Food store pipeline remains strong.

“As we look forward, our Q4 reported numbers will be adversely affected by sale timing and a later Easter.  Against the background of uncertain consumer confidence the business remains focused on delivering the strategic actions announced last year.”

Group sales were up 5.9% on a reported basis in the 13 weeks to 31 December.

Clothing & Home sales rose by 3.1% of which c.1.5% was due to the shift in reporting period, which led to the inclusion of five additional days of the December sale.  Clothing & Home LFL sales were up by 2.3%.  We substantially reduced sales on promotion in the period, with many fewer category promotions particularly over Black Friday.  Stock into sale during the quarter declined by c.7% with one fewer clearance event than last year.  As a result of these actions, we saw a further improvement in full price sales.

Food sales rose by 5.6%, with LFL sales up by 0.6%. The quarter was characterised by a slightly later build to peak, as a result of Christmas Day falling on a Sunday.  We continue to grow market share, with customers appreciating the quality, innovation and newness that distinguish our food.  New Simply Food stores continue to perform well.

International sales were up 2.9% at constant currency benefiting from earlier shipments of spring ranges to our franchise partners.

Full year guidance remains unchanged. We continue to manage the business for the uncertain consumer outlook.

We will report our Full Year 2016/17 results on 24 May 2017.

1Like-for-like is the movement in sales from stores which have been trading, or where there has been no significant change in footage, for at least 52 weeks; includes online sales

Statements made in this announcement that look forward in time or that express management’s beliefs, expectations or estimates regarding future occurrences and prospects are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the United States federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements reflect Marks & Spencer’s current expectations concerning future events and actual results may differ materially from current expectations or historical results. Any such forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including failure by Marks & Spencer to predict accurately customer preferences; decline in the demand for products offered by Marks & Spencer; competitive influences; changes in levels of store traffic or consumer spending habits; effectiveness of Marks & Spencer’s brand awareness and marketing programmes; general economic conditions or a downturn in the retail or financial services industries; acts of war or terrorism worldwide; work stoppages, slowdowns or strikes; and changes in financial and equity markets.

Investors & Analysts Conference Call:

The call will be hosted by Steve Rowe and Helen Weir at 8.15 am on Thursday 12 January 2017:

Dial in number: +44 (0)330 336 9411

Confirmation Code: 6848912

A recording of this call will be available until 22 January 2017:

Dial in number: +44 (0)20 7984 7568

For further information, please contact: 

Investor Relations:
Fraser Ramzan
+44 (0)20 8718 4625

Helen Cox
+44 (0)20 8718 8491

Corporate Press Office:
+44 (0)20 8718 1919

Out of hours calls:
+44 (0)20 8718 2000

Source: Marks and Spencer Group Plc

Marks and Spencer Group plc 2015/16 results: Continued strong growth in Food

LONDON, 2016-May-26 — /EPR Retail News/ —


53 weeks to 2 April 16
change on LY
52 weeks to
26 March 16
change on LY
Group revenue
Underlying profit before tax1
Non-underlying items
Profit before tax
Underlying basic earnings per share1
Basic earnings per share
Free cash flow
Net debt
Dividend per share

1 Underlying results are consistent with how business performance is measured internally. Non underlying items principally include: the mis-selling provision for M&S Bank; one-off impairments within International; UK store review costs and asset write-offs of IT.

Review of 2015/16:

  • Continued strong growth in Food as we outperformed a competitive market.  We opened 75 new Simply Food stores which are performing ahead of expectations.
  • Clothing & Home gross margin up 245bps; sales performance unsatisfactory but actions under way.
  • Continued difficult trading conditions in International – operating profit down 39.6% to £55.8m.
  • Tight control over cost and capital – free cash flow pre-shareholder returns of £539.3m and operating costs +1.8%.
  • £451.7m returned to shareholders including: £301.7m dividend and £150m buy back. In addition a special dividend of 4.6p per share (or £75m) announced for the first half of 2016/17.

Strategic update summary:

  • Focus on putting customers at the heart of M&S and driving sales growth.
  • Implementing actions to recover and grow Clothing & Home:

– Re-establish style authority: focus on product, quality and fit
– Restore price position: lowering prices and reduced promotional stance
– Enhanced customer experience: sharper ranges, better availability and investment in store staffing

  • Continuing to grow the Food business:

-Build on strengths: focus on innovation, quality and choice
-Commitment to value credentials: competitive pricing while maintaining margin
-Improved convenience: extending Simply Food store opening programme

  • Driving profitability for shareholders:

-Continued tight control of costs and cash
-Focus on shareholder returns

  • Additional strategic questions, including International, UK store estate and organisation to be addressed in the autumn.

Steve Rowe, Chief Executive, said:

“M&S is a great business with a strong customer base and loyal employees and we have much to be proud of.  We also know that we have lots of opportunities to improve and be better for our customers, our employees and our shareholders. We are putting customers right at the heart of our business.

“Our results last year were mixed. We continued to outperform on Food but we underperformed on Clothing & Home sales. This is not satisfactory and today we are outlining our initial plans to address the issues and to position Marks & Spencer to deliver profitable sales growth.

“We are clear on the actions needed to recover and grow Clothing & Home, which is our top priority; to continue to grow our Food business; and to focus on driving profitability. We are investing to re-establish our price position by sharpening prices and to enhance service by putting more employees into our stores.

“These actions, combined with the difficult trading conditions, will have an adverse effect on profit in the short term. We are, however, confident that our commitment to delivering the right product, price and service will help return Clothing & Home sales to growth.  This, together with continued momentum in Food, will provide us with a solid base from which to build a long term sustainable business.

Robert Swannell, M&S Chairman, said:
“Steve Rowe is today setting out his priorities as our new Chief Executive. His number one priority is to restore our Clothing & Home business to profitable growth, while maintaining the pace of growth and success of our market leading Food business.

“Today we announce a proposed final dividend for 2015/16 of 11.9p resulting in a full year dividend of 18.7p, up 3.9% on last year and broadly in line with underlying profit growth. As part of our ongoing programme of enhanced returns, we are also announcing a special dividend of 4.6p per share (c.£75 million) for the first half of the 2016/17 year. This will be paid to shareholders in July at the same time as the final dividend. We will update on further capital returns at our Interim results in November.”

Business and financial review starts from page 10. 


Over the last six weeks we have undertaken a forensic review of M&S in order to build an honest picture of our business today.

We have many strengths. 32 million customers choose to shop with us every year because we have a strong brand identity with values rooted in our heritage of quality and innovation, underpinned by our ethical commitments and great partnerships. And the investments we have made in transforming our systems and supply chain, building an inspirational, easy-to-navigate website and taking greater ownership of our product design and sourcing, have helped us to make significant progress. Our employees are loyal and passionate about our brand and are determined for us to succeed.

We have listened to our customers and analysed our results to understand exactly why we have underperformed and identified where we need to take action to improve M&S. We have asked ourselves crucial questions about our business and the answers give us the blueprint to return M&S to growth.

Today, we are setting out the first phase of our strategic plan to recover and grow Clothing & Home and continue to grow Food. We will also be reviewing our cost base with the objective of delivering the first benefits this year. There are a number of other strategic questions which need further consideration, including those relating to our International business, our UK store estate and our organisation, and we will update on these in the autumn.

We are operating in difficult and challenging times – consumer confidence has dipped, the clothing market is flat, online sales have slowed and there’s deflation in the food market. Our customers are changing too as they become increasingly style and health conscious, shop around and expect more.

Analysing the shopping habits and behaviours of the 32 million customers who shop with us has shown that they carry a deep rooted affection for M&S but, for some, M&S is no longer their first choice.  We have been listening to them to understand why and we have heard some common themes. This insight forms the basis of our plans for the business. We believe that M&S is a special brand and we are committed to making every moment special for our customers.

Our Clothing & Home sales performance has been unsatisfactory for a number of years and today we set out the actions we are taking to recover and grow this important part of our business.

Style Authority
We will re-establish our style authority by focusing on wearable, contemporary style and unbeatable wardrobe essentials.

Product is key to this. Our customers look to M&S not for fashion trends but for accessible products they can wear with confidence. This will be complemented by a refocus on stylish everyday essentials, which we will continually refresh to ensure they are current and competitive, and underpinned by standout M&S innovation.

Quality will remain central to our thinking. Whether buying t-shirts or dresses; socks or suits; vests or school uniform, our customers will recognise that M&S has returned to being famous for unrivalled quality delivered through fabric, fit and finish.

Price position 
We will restore our price position by investing in everyday price and reducing the number of promotions and sales. Lowering prices and moving our price architecture towards ‘Good’ will make us more competitive, particularly on opening price points

We have been too reliant on promotions and sales which has eroded our value credentials. We will significantly reduce promotions and have fewer but better clearance sales in order to rebuild trust in our pricing stance. We will be more targeted in our promotions, leveraging data from our Sparks card customers, and offer fewer channel-specific promotions.

We will enhance our customer experience across all channels by delivering clearer ranges and real choice in order to make their purchasing decisions simpler and quicker.

Our customers tell us that product duplication makes shopping with M&S confusing and that navigating through our sub-brands to find what they are looking for requires effort. We also fail to deliver on availability meaning that customers can’t always find the products they want.

We will address this by reducing the number of products we sell in our Autumn/Winter ranges, stripping out duplication and buying with greater depth and authority so that we have a strong offer in all our stores regardless of their size.

We will make our stores easier to shop by reducing the level of co-ordination and help customers by inspiring them with selective and impactful outfit merchandising which will give us more flexibility to trade the seasons and trends.

Underpinning all of this will be an investment in service. Our employees are the lifeblood of M&S and they can be the difference in converting footfall into customers. We will improve standards and offer better service by investing in more employees in our stores and improving our instore facilities. Some basic changes to the environment, coupled with great service, can turn a shopping trip into an experience.

We will also continue to develop and improve our digital channels so that we stay up-to-date and relevant and can respond intuitively online and on mobile.

In summary, recovering our Clothing & Home business won’t happen overnight. It will take time for customers to notice the improvements we are making and change their shopping behaviour, but we are confident that our commitment to delivering the right product, price and service will help return Clothing & Home sales to growth.

We have a strong Food business that is delivering results. We have consistently outperformed the market despite fierce competition and high deflation. We believe that our core strategy on Food is clear and that our focus on quality, innovation and choice is right and will continue to deliver sustainable, profitable growth.

We are delighting our customers in Food where the M&S brand stands for authority on quality and newness.  They come to us for innovation, great taste and convenience and trust us to act with integrity. But there is more that we can do to build on our product strengths, maintain a competitive price position and improve convenience.

Quality, Innovation and Choice
M&S takes product development very seriously, employing the best Food specialists from all corners of the culinary world. As a major own-brand retailer we also have world-leading supplier partnerships which gives us a unique and unrivalled product position. As a result, our customers tell us that M&S Food products are second-to-none in terms of quality, freshness and taste.

We believe that we can build on this in a number of areas for example, healthy eating, which is consistently cited as one of our customers’ key concerns. It means much more than diet ranges and meals; our customers want to eat healthily which plays right to our strengths on fresh produce, meat, fish and convenient recipe dishes.

M&S plays an important role in inspiring customers every day and they want us to help inspire them with recipes and ideas, and wow them with events. So from Wednesday night suppers to Christmas celebrations we will put their needs at the centre of our product innovation.

Our customers also want real choice and we will provide this by carefully tailoring our ranges to the location of the store and the mission of the shopper. This will enable us to stock more of our new innovative products in smaller stores, as well as help manage cost of waste.

Value Credentials 
We will continue to invest in price to stay competitive. The food market continues to be deflationary and we will make sure that we offer great value.

We believe we can do this while maintaining our gross margin through ongoing supply chain efficiency programmes that are already delivering improvements with much more to play for. We will continue to reduce the level of promotions, and focus instead on more personalised offers for customers using our Sparks card.

Convenience is essential for our customers when they are increasingly time-poor and need convenient solutions and easy access. Forty percent of all food consumed in the UK is eaten out of the home and convenience is the only segment of food retail predicted to grow over the next few years. This presents us with a great opportunity to respond with conveniently prepared products in convenient stores.

This is why we are accelerating our Simply Food opening programme. The stores that we have opened this year are already delivering ahead of expectations and we believe there is an opportunity to add even more space. In addition to the 250 new Simply Food stores already due to open by March 2017,  we are announcing today that we are extending our opening programme by c.100 stores per year in 2017/18 and 2018/19, making our food offer accessible to even more customers.

In summary, we are going to continue to grow our Food business through delivering quality, innovative products to our customers from great stores in convenient locations.

We have used the introduction of the UK National Living Wage as an opportunity to review how we reward our people to ensure we attract and retain the best talent and continue to provide great service for our customers.  We have announced today proposals for a fairer, simpler and more consistent approach to pay and pensions.

We are proposing a significant base rate increase for Qualified Customer Assistants to £8.50 per hour outside London and £9.65 in Greater London, as well as pay rises for Section Coordinators and Section Managers, with effect from April 2017. We are also proposing to simplify our approach to premium payments

In addition, we are proposing to close our UK defined benefit (DB) pension scheme for future service accrual (it has been closed to new members since 2002) and enrol current defined benefit members in our defined contribution savings plan from April 2017.

We have started a period of consultation with our people on both of these proposals.

We do not expect these changes to have a significant impact on underlying costs in this or next year. However, there will be a non-underlying charge in the current financial year in the range of c.£100m to £150m. This non-underlying charge is largely driven by the DB pension changes because when current active members become deferred members, the annual increase in their pensionable salary is linked to CPI as opposed to being capped at 1%.

Market conditions continue to be challenging and we are managing our business accordingly

We are confident that the actions we are taking to address the Clothing & Home sales performance will deliver results, however it will take time for our customers to notice the improvements and change their shopping behaviour. Given current market conditions, and our decision to invest in price and reduce promotional activity, in order to give our customers everyday better value, we expect to see a similar sales trend to 2015/16.

We will continue to realise buying margin gains in Clothing & Home from ongoing sourcing initiatives. However, as previously guided, currency is a headwind of c.70bps this year.  We expect this, combined with our decision to step up the level of investment in price, to deliver an increase of c.50-100bps in the Clothing & Home gross margin.

In Food, we expect the roll out of our standalone Food stores to continue to drive sales growth, with space forecast to grow by c.5% in the year ahead.

Given ongoing competitive pressure in the Food market, we expect gross margin to remain level on last year, as we continue to re-invest operational efficiencies into price, quality and innovation.

Tight control of costs remains a priority and we will continue to focus on driving efficiencies. Operating costs are expected to increase by c.3.5%. We will invest in store staffing to give our customers great service. In addition, we are facing higher costs as a result of new space and increased depreciation as well as volume growth and inflation.

In our International business, we expect the factors which impacted last year’s profits to persist through this year. We see further pressure from the Euro exchange rate, as well as weak trading conditions in Western Europe. The macro-economic backdrop in most of our franchise markets is not improving, and we will continue to work with our franchise partners to support them through these challenging times.

We are continuing with our focus on cash generation. Capital expenditure is expected to be lower at c.£450m.
The tax rate for the current financial year is expected to be 20%.

Overall, we expect the combination of difficult trading conditions, both in the UK and in our International markets, as well as our decision to invest in price and reduce our promotional activity, to have an adverse impact on profit in the short term. However, we’re confident our actions will provide us with a more solid base from which to build long term sustainable growth

There are many areas of our business that we are still reviewing. In the autumn we will report back on plans for our UK store portfolio, the shape of our International business and our organisation.

We will update on our first quarter sales on 7 July 2016.

download full year results press release PDF

For further information, please contact:
Investor Relations:
Majda Rainer:+44 (0)20 8718 1563
Helen Cox: +44 (0)20 8718 8491

Media enquiries:
Corporate Press Office:+44 (0)20 8718 1919

Investor & Analyst webcast: Investor and analyst presentation will be held at 10am on 25 May 2016. This presentation can be viewed live on the Marks and Spencer Group plc website on

Fixed Income Investor Conference Call:
This will be hosted by Helen Weir, Chief Finance Officer at 2pm on 25 May 2016:
Dial in number: +44 (0)20 3427 1904 Access code: 8600945
A recording of this call will be available until 3 June 2016:
Dial in number: +44 (0)20 3427 0598 Access code: 8600945

Marks and Spencer Group plc announces that John Dixon, Executive Director, General Merchandise will leave to pursue career opportunities outside of the company

LONDON, 2015-7-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — Marks and Spencer Group plc (“M&S”) today announces that John Dixon, Executive Director, General Merchandise, has decided to leave the business to pursue career opportunities outside of the company. He will step down from the Board with immediate effect and leave the company on a date to be agreed.

In line with our succession plans, Steve Rowe will take on responsibility for General Merchandise and Andy Adcock, currently Trading Director, Food, will step up to be Director of Food, reporting to Marc Bolland on an interim basis.

Steve has been with M&S for over 26 years, starting his career in store management. He has significant experience having worked in many areas of M&S with roles in Food, Retail, General Merchandise and Ecommerce. In his current role as Executive Director, Food, Steve has been instrumental in ensuring that M&S has maintained its specialist positioning and continued to outperform in a challenging market.

Commenting on the announcement, Robert Swannell, Chairman of Marks and Spencer Group plc said: “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank John for his service over many years and his many contributions to the business in that time. I am delighted that Steve has been appointed to head up General Merchandise and wish him every success in his new role.”

Marc Bolland, Chief Executive Officer, said: “On behalf of the team and all our colleagues at M&S, I would like to thank John for his contribution to the business. I am delighted to appoint Steve to the role of Executive Director, General Merchandise. Steve has outstanding experience working across the business and is well placed to take the General Merchandise business forward. I look forward to continuing to work closely with him.”

John Dixon said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed many happy and successful years at M&S. I now have the opportunity to become a Chief Executive and have therefore resigned from this great company. I wish it, and all my colleagues, every continued success.”


For further information, please contact:

Corporate Press Office
0208 718 1919

Marks and Spencer Group plc announces changes to its Board and Committee membership

LONDON, 2015-3-6 — /EPR Retail News/ — Marks and Spencer Group plc (“M&S”) today announces the following changes to its Board and Committee membership.

Further to the announcement in August 2014, M&S confirms that Jan du Plessis, Senior Independent Director, will step down from the Board on 4 March 2015, having served on the Board since 2008.

Vindi Banga, Chairman of the Remuneration Committee, and Non-Executive Director since 2012, will succeed Jan as Senior Independent Director.  He will continue to Chair the Remuneration Committee.

Miranda Curtis will be appointed to the Audit Committee with immediate effect. Miranda is also a member of the Remuneration and Nomination Committees. Robert Swannell will join the Remuneration Committee with immediate effect.

Robert Swannell, Marks & Spencer Chairman said: “On behalf of the M&S Board, I would like to thank Jan for his outstanding commitment and contribution to M&S.  His insights and experience have been invaluable over the last seven years. We wish him well in his new appointment at SABMiller plc.

“The Nominations Committee has set clear criteria for the experience and skills for Non-Executive Director succession and we expect to make an additional appointment in due course”.

For more information, please call:
M&S Corporate PR
0208 718 1919

Marks and Spencer Group plc confirms that Helen Weir CBE will take up the position of CFO and join the Board on 1st April 2015

LONDON, 2015-2-9 — /EPR Retail News/ —  Further to the announcement made on 17th November 2014, and in accordance with paragraph 9.6.12 of the Listing Rules, Marks and Spencer Group plc today confirms that Helen Weir CBE will take up the position of Chief Finance Officer and join the Board on 1st April 2015.

For further information, please contact:
Corporate Press Office  020 8718 1919
Investor Relations  020 8718 1563

Notes to Editors:

Helen is a Non-Executive Director of SAB Miller and an Independent Non-Executive Director of The Rugby Football Union.
Previous non-executive appointments include City of London Investment Trust Plc, Royal Mail Holdings, Supervisory Board of Hornbach Holding AG and member of the Accounting Standards Board.

Helen is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and was awarded a CBE for services to Finance in 2008.

Helen was until recently Chief Financial Officer at the John Lewis Partnership. She joined John Lewis in 2012 from Lloyds Banking Group plc where she was Group Executive Director, Retail having been Group Finance Director at Lloyds from 2004-2008.  Prior to this, Helen was Group Finance Director of Kingfisher plc, and Finance Director of B&Q. She spent her early career at Unilever and McKinsey & Co.

Marks and Spencer Group plc announces the appointment of Helen Weir CBE to its Board as Chief Finance Officer

LONDON, 2014-11-17— /EPR Retail News/ — Marks and Spencer Group plc (M&S) announces the appointment of Helen Weir CBE to its Board as Chief Finance Officer. She will take up her appointment on a date to be confirmed.

Helen is currently Chief Financial Officer at the John Lewis Partnership. She joined John Lewis in 2012 from Lloyds Banking Group plc where she was Group Executive Director, Retail having been Group Finance Director at Lloyds from 2004-2008. Prior to this, Helen was Group Finance Director of Kingfisher plc, and Finance Director of B&Q. She spent her early career at Unilever and McKinsey & Co.

Marc Bolland, Chief Executive, M&S, said:
“We are delighted to be appointing Helen as CFO. She is extremely well qualified, and brings a wealth of relevant financial, retail and consumer experience. We look forward to her joining the M&S team.”

Helen Weir said:
“M&S is one of the UK’s great brands. This is an exciting time to be joining the company and I am delighted to be part of the team.”

For further information, please contact:
Corporate Press Office 020 8718 1919
Investor Relations 020 8718 1563

Notes to Editors:

Helen is a Non-Executive Director of SAB Miller.

Previous non-executive appointments include City of London Investment Trust Plc, Royal Mail Holdings, Supervisory Board of Hornbach Holding AG and member of the Accounting Standards Board.

Helen is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and was awarded a CBE for services to Finance in 2008.


On appointment Helen will receive a basic annual salary of £590,000 and standard benefits commensurate with her position and in line with the M&S Remuneration Policy approved by shareholders in July 2014.

No share awards are being granted in relation to her appointment, however, Helen will receive a one-off payment of £188,500 to compensate for the differential in contractual pension that she is forfeiting to join M&S.

A further award for 2014/15 annual bonus foregone may also be taken into consideration.

– Ends –