LONDON May 20 British retailer Marks & Spencer posted a 3.9 percent fall in annual profit, a third straight decline, with three years of heavy investment yet to revive its underperforming non-food business.
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 623 million pounds ($1.05 billion) in the year to March 29.
That compares with analyst forecasts of 600-630 million pounds, with a consensus of 615 million pounds, and 665.2 million pounds made in 2012-13.
For the first time the profit outcome is below the annual profit made by faster growing rival Next.
M&S did, however, propose a maintained dividend of 17 pence. ($1 = 0.5943 British Pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Paul Sandle)