• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Marks & Spencer expected to post third profits fall in a row

Marks & Spencer's turnaround progress will be in the spotlight during a week of heavyweight results, including figures from Vodafone, SSE and Royal Mail.

The pressure on Marks & Spencer boss Marc Bolland will intensify on Tuesday when the retail chain announces a fall in profits for the third year in a row.

The market consensus is for the department store to post full-year pre-tax profits of £615 million, compared with underlying pre-tax profits of £665.2 million last year, which at the time was the lowest level since 2009.

The retailer has fallen a long way from its pre-recession peak when it posted £1 billion in profits. And its profits have also dipped below those of rival Next, which recently reported a full-year haul of £695 million.

However, there have been recent signs of encouragement after sales figures showed the green shoots of recovery in its struggling fashion business.

In an April trading update, the firm said clothing sales rose 0.6% on an underlying basis, driven by "clear signs of improvement" in womenswear.

Across general merchandise, which includes homeware as well as clothing, like-for-like sales were down by a smaller-than-expected 0.6% in the quarter, although this extends a three-year run of falling sales at the division.

Deutsche Bank, which has a "hold" rating on the stock, said it will pay close attention to what Mr Bolland has to say about the loss of clothing market share to cheaper rivals.

The bank added it would treat "bullish guidance cautiously" from the management because investors have suffered "two years of disappointment and market share losses."

Later in the week, Royal Mail will deliver annual results for the first time as a public company on Thursday seven months after its stock market flotation.

The firm is set to turn in an operating profit of £670 million before restructuring costs, compared with £598 million a year ago.

Shares have surged from an initial 330p to 569p. This adds £2.4 billion to its market value.

Tough trading conditions across Europe will be felt in Vodafone's annual results presentation on Tuesday, with the City expecting profits to fall to £12.9 billion from £13.6 billion a year earlier.

It has been squeezed by increasing price competition in its major European markets of Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.

Contextual targeting label: 
Business

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

234349