M&S closures: Marks & Spencer to shut a further 110 stores

Jonathan Prynn
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Marks & Spencer today revealed it is to axe a further 110 stores as it battles falling profits and sales.

Chief executive Steve Rowe said around 85 underperforming high street branches and 25 smaller “Simply Food” outlets will be shut. This is on top of the 35 branches closed in the last financial year.

The latest round of closures came as the retailer said pre-tax profits fell almost 10 per cent to £523.2 million in the year to end of March.

It was the third consecutive year of falling profits.

Marks & Spencer previously announced 38 stores were closing (PA)

The company said it was still in the “difficult early stages” of a major transformation to make it more competitive. Mr Rowe said: “Whilst there are green shoots, we have not been consistent in our delivery in a number of areas of the business.”

Retail expert Richard Lim said Marks needed to step up the pace of change “if it is to survive this unprecedented era of disruption.”

Shares fell 5% as the results confirmed a hefty cut to its shareholder dividend payout, down 25.7% to 13.9p a share.

Comparable sales in its troubled womenswear arm dropped 1.6% with a 1.3% fall in the final three months after it was hit by the timing of Easter and poor stock availability.

Like-for-like sales in its food halls fell 2.3% following a 1.5% decline in the fourth quarter, although this was also affected by the timing of Easter.

Mr Rowe said: "M&S is changing faster than at any time in my career - substantial changes across the business to our processes, ranges and operations - and this has constrained this year's performance, particularly in clothing and home."