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Marks & Spencer profits drop 30%

M&S blames toughest conditions since the 1990s

Marks & Spencer

John Lewis and Marks & Spencer lead the way for home and garden products

Marks & Spencer’s profits have fallen by a third and it’s blaming the toughest sales conditions to hit the retailer since the early 1990s.

The 34% decline in profits to £297.8m came after UK like-for-like sales slid 5.7% in the six months to September 27.

Marks & Spencer (M&S) came sixth in our 2008 Which? high street retailers survey – find out who was voted top of the shops in our .

M&S sales fall

M&S said its ‘Dine in for £10’ promotion and weekend offers were starting to attract more consumers to its shops and had revived interest from the ‘more occasional customer.’

But executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose described trading during October as ‘volatile’ and said the chain would steer its way through the downturn by tightly controlling costs, expenditure and stock levels.

Outlining its priorities, M&S said it would strive to maintain its market leading position in general merchandise and improve the company’s performance in food, where its market share has declined from 4.3% to 4%.

Credit crunch

Despite dropping by a third, Marks & Spencer’s profits still beat analyst expectations by more than £7m.

Sir Stuart Rose denied there was a problem at the store. 

He said: ‘I think it’s only a reflection of what we’ve being saying for the last six months, times are tough.’ 

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