Marks & Spencer has reported a 21% slump in profits for the past year after it was weighed down by its troubled clothing division.

The retailer said profitability improved in its food business but profits dropped by more than a third in its clothing and home arm.

M&S also told investors that it took a £52 million hit to profits due to coronavirus, while it estimated that costs and stock writedowns related to the outbreak cost it £212.8 million.

READ MORE: Scottish tourism 'at risk of total collapse'

The company said group sales dipped 1.9% to £10.1 billion during the year to March.

Like-for-like food revenues increased by 1.9%, while its clothing business saw like-for-like revenues dive 6.2% as it was impacted by availability issues in the first half of the year.

Last month, the retail giant revealed plans for a "never the same again" overhaul as it warned the virus would impact trading for the rest of 2020.

Chief executive Steve Rowe said: "Last year's results reflect a year of substantial progress and change including the transformative investment in Ocado Retail, outperformance in Food and some green shoots in Clothing in the second half.

"However, they now seem like ancient history as the trauma of the Covid crisis has galvanised our colleagues to secure the future of the business.

"Whilst some customer habits will return to normal others have changed forever, the trend towards digital has been accelerated, and changes to the shape of the high street brought forward.

"Most importantly working habits have been transformed and we have discovered we can work in a faster, leaner, more effective way.

"I am determined to act now to capture this and deliver a renewed, more agile business in a world that will never be the same again."

Aerospace giant Rolls-Royce plans to cut at least 9,000 jobs amid the continuing coronavirus crisis, with UK factories set to be hardest hit.

The Derby-based company announced a major reorganisation of its business as demand for aircraft, and the engines it manufactures, slumps across the world.

READ MORE: Rolls-Royce signals job cuts as air traffic grounded

Chief executive Warren East acknowledged it is "terrible news" for employees, but he added action has to be taken to protect the business in the long-term.

Negotiations will now begin with trade unions before any figures for job losses in the UK are agreed, but Mr East said most of the cuts will be in the company's civil aerospace business.

Around two-thirds of the UK employees work in the civil aerospace side, giving an idea of where the impact will fall the most.

Rolls-Royce, which has plants in Bristol, Derby, Glasgow and Barnoldswick, said staff have yet to be told who will be made redundant.

Steve Turner, assistant general secretary of Unite, said: "The news that Rolls-Royce is preparing to throw thousands of skilled, loyal, world-class workers, their families and communities under the bus during the worst public health crisis since 1918 is shameful opportunism.

"This company has accepted public money to furlough thousands of workers. Unite and Britain's taxpayers deserve a more responsible approach to a national emergency. We call upon Rolls-Royce to step back from the brink and work with us on a better way through this crisis."

The company has furloughed around 4,000 workers in the UK under the Government scheme to pay some of the wages of people affected by the crisis.

Mr East warned it will take "several years" for the industry to recover to levels seen before the crisis struck because of the "unprecedented" impact on global aviation.

The company said the cuts could result in £700 million in savings towards an overall aim of £1.3 billion in annual savings.

It said it will also cut spending across its plant, property and other areas to strengthen its finances.

Mr East said: "This is not a crisis of our making. But it is the crisis that we face and we must deal with it.

"Our airline customers and air-frame partners are having to adapt and so must we.

"Being told that there is no longer a job for you is a terrible prospect and it is especially hard when all of us take so much pride in working for Rolls-Royce.

"But we must take difficult decisions to see our business through these unprecedented times."

The jobs cull will also have an impact on central support functions, as well as the supply chain.

Thousands of jobs are now at risk in companies that supply Rolls-Royce with goods and services.

Rolls-Royce said its defence business in the UK and US remains unaffected and has been "robust" throughout the pandemic.

The latest overhaul comes on top of measures announced in June 2018 to axe around 4,600 jobs to save £400 million a year.

Rolls-Royce warned earlier this month that flying hours for its engines dived by 90% in April as airlines around the world temporarily grounded large proportions of their fleets.

It said at the time that its power systems division has also experienced weaker trading since the first quarter due to extended shutdowns in local markets and ongoing travel bans.

The group had already taken other actions to try and weather the pandemic, slashing its global wage bill by at least 10%, not hiring external candidates, and cutting back on consulting, non-essential travel and sub-contractor costs.

It also scrapped its final shareholder dividend payout to save £137 million and cut senior management and board pay by 20% for the rest of 2020.

Housebuilding giant Vistry Group has warned of further job cuts following the takeover of rival Galliford Try's residential arm, but it offered reassurance over a recovery in buyer demand amid the coronavirus crisis.

Vistry - which was rebranded from Bovis Homes following the Galliford deal - said the jobs move would help drive an extra £9.5 million in savings following the Linden Homes tie-up.

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: Bad economic omens in Michael Gove ‘philosophy’

This would take its total savings so far since the deal to more than £44 million.
But the firm declined to give details on how many more jobs were at risk.

Vistry said: "We have extended the review of the group following the acquisition, to further leverage the scale of the combined businesses.

"We are consulting with our teams and anticipate that this will result in further headcount reductions."

The group had already warned in February that it would look to cut around 8% of the combined workforce in the housebuilding business after the Galliford deal and reduce its regional offices from 17 to 13.

But the coronavirus crisis has seen it accelerate the cost savings proposals, while it is also ahead of plan with the integration.

The warning came as Vistry said house prices over the past eight weeks had been "broadly" in line with its forecasts, and it confirmed it has now reopened almost all of its building sites.

It sales teams have been conducting virtual tours of new homes and the group has taken 300 reservations, after cancellations, and legally completed 257 private sales in the past two months.

While its sales offices have now reopened for appointments, the group said it sees "significant opportunity from increasing the use of online channels for all future customer interactions".

Website traffic has now returned to the levels seen before the crisis, according to the group.

The wider housing sector was also given a boost when the Government said last week estate agents could start reopening for viewings as it begins to ease lockdown restrictions.

Vistry completed its acquisition of Galliford's Linden Homes and Partnerships and Regeneration units in January in a deal worth £1.1 billion.

It has kept both the Bovis Homes and Linden Homes brands following the acquisition.

Greg Fitzgerald, chief executive of Vistry, said: "In these unprecedented times, the group's performance during lockdown has been better than initially expected in respect of reservations, completions and cash management.

"The continued strength of Vistry Partnerships throughout the past two months has proven our rationale for the acquisition."