LONDON Nov 6 Bellwether British retailer Marks
& Spencer posted a second consecutive year of falling
first-half profit, reflecting mistakes in its clothing offer and
the pressure facing UK consumers.
The 128-year-old group, Britain's biggest clothing retailer
which also sells homewares and upmarket food, said on Tuesday it
made a profit before tax and one-off items of 297 million pounds
($474.4 million) in the 26 weeks to Sept. 29.
That compares with analyst forecasts of 250-305 million
pounds, with a consensus of 280 million pounds, according to a
company poll, and a pro-forma 307 million pounds in the same
period last year.
Sales from M&S' British stores open over a year were flat in
the second quarter, with a 1.8 percent fall in general
merchandise sales partially offset by a 1.6 percent rise in
The general merchandise performance represented an
improvement on a 6.8 percent slump in first quarter
like-for-like sales blamed on wet summer weather and stock
management issues that left stores short of bestselling
M&S said recent trading had been "volatile", making it
cautious about the outlook for the rest of this year.