Marks & Spencer (M&S) has seen a leap in revenue for its food division, which has increased by 3.9% to £4.9bn, the company’s annual financial report has revealed.
Group revenue was also up to £10bn, an increase of 1.3% on last year, yet the company’s underlying profit before tax slumped by 5.8% to £665.2m, while group profit before tax also suffered and fell by 14.2% to £564.3m.
International sales, meanwhile, were up by 4.5% to £1.1bn, with international store openings up by 31, bringing the company’s total number of overseas stores up to 418.
M&S chairman Robert Swannell said the year was one of progress for the company, “where a mixed trading performance was balanced by good progress”.
He added: “We are implementing large-scale revolutionary change that spans our supply chain, stores, web platform and IT infrastructure – creating a sound base for sustainable future growth. However, our plans to transform M&S have not altered the values on which we were founded; our commitment to quality, value, service, innovation and trust continues to set us apart.”
The chairman also claimed that customers had continued to place their trust in M&S, in what has been a difficult year for the retailer. According to Swannell, customers had told M&S that they wanted to enjoy their shopping experience, despite “restricted” shopping trips and “limited” budgets.
According to the company, inflation, which was driven by increasing commodity and fuel prices, was the principal factor affecting the food market.
Meanwhile, it added: “Competition among retailers remained intense, with high levels of promotional activity. In the wake of the supply chain issues, trust and traceability became a priority for customers.
“Customers continued to demand good-value food, but also expressed renewed commitment to healthy eating, particularly in the New Year. They looked for a stress-free shopping experience, with clear promotions and quality they could trust,” it added.
In his chief executive overview, Marc Bolland explained that a “greater ownership” of the food hall by staff had also given the company an upper-hand and Bolland said it “enhanced customer service and our improvements to space, range and display delivered better on-shelf availability”.
He added: “Like-for-like sales were consistently ahead of the market, driven by our trusted quality, provenance and ongoing innovation, which saw us refresh 25% of our entire range. M&S remains the destination of choice for special occasion food.”