M&S confirms 60 store closures as pretax profit drops 88%

Marks & Spencer has confirmed it will close 60 of its stores after reporting an 88% fall in pretax profits to £25.1m.

Steve Rowe: M&S boss talked of 'tough decisions'
Steve Rowe: M&S boss talked of 'tough decisions'

On an underlying basis, M&S posted an 18.6% fall in profits to £231m for the first six months of financial year, ending 1 October, while group revenue was £4.99bn, up 0.9%.

M&S said the fall in profits was due to an expected drop in clothing and home sales.

The retailer is now proposing to focus its international business on a franchise model and will exit its loss-making owned business across ten markets, which will cost between £150m-£200m over the next year.

Steve Rowe, the chief executive of M&S, said: "We have now completed a forensic review of our estate both in the UK and in our international markets.  Over the next five years we will transform our UK estate with c.60 fewer clothing & home stores, whilst continuing to increase the number of our Simply Food stores. In the future, we will have more inspiring stores in places where customers want to shop that complement our growing digital offer.  

"Internationally, we propose to cease trading in ten loss making owned markets, but intend to continue to develop our presence through our strong franchise partners.

"These are tough decisions, but vital to building a future M&S that is simpler, more relevant, multi-channel and focused on delivering sustainable returns."