TIMELINE-Marks & Spencer's profit decline

Tue May 19, 2009 8:11am EDT

May 19 (Reuters) - British retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) said it was hopeful the downturn in its markets had levelled off as it posted a 40 percent slide in full-year profit and slashed its dividend to conserve cash. [ID:nLI426587]

Following are key events at Marks & Spencer in the past year:

March 2008 - Says chairman Terry Burns will stand down on June 1 when chief executive Stuart Rose will become executive chairman.

July - Stuart Rose survives one of the biggest shareholder rebellions of recent years, as 22 percent of investors abstained or voted against his election as executive chairman.

May - Adjusted pretax profits rise 4.3 percent to 1.007 billion pounds.

November - Says profit before tax and one-off items fell 34 percent to 297.8 million pounds for the six months to Sept. 27, down from 451.8 million a year earlier.

January 2009 - Reports sales in Britain fall 7.1 percent in third quarter, its biggest fall since 1999.

-- Operating costs for next year will be about 1-2 percent below 2008-09 levels, equivalent to a reduction of about 175 to 200 million pounds, it says. This will represent a fall in the group's underlying cost base of about 7 percent.

-- M&S is to cut around 1,230 store and head office jobs.

March - Underlying Q4 sales are down 4.2 percent, beating forecasts, raising hopes it is getting to grips with its problems despite a tough trading outlook, sending its shares up to 12.5 percent higher.

May - Reports a 40 percent slide in full-year profits. Says it made an underlying pretax profit of 604.4 million pounds for the year to March 28.

(Compiled by Carl Bagh, Editorial Reference Unit, Bangalore; Additional writing and editing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit; Additional editing by Jon Loades-Carter) ($1 = 0.6454 pound)