M&S’ yearly group revenue fell three per cent. Pre-tax profit dropped 9.9 per cent. Post-tax profit was up 28.2 per cent. Customer response was very strong with its new denim launch producing an initial 20 per cent sales uplift and sales of women’s jeggings up 30 per cent. M&S improved its clothing e-market share by 0.3 percentage points. But creating a new range architecture in a business with weak processes, a slow supply chain and where buyers are building their confidence proved challenging. Many popular lines sold out prematurely because of the failure to increase the depth of buy and the slowness of the stock flow. The range was too wide splintering its buying scale and making shops challenging to navigate.
Despite teething problems, the company expects to deliver a more marked reduction in options and range duplication, with a substantial improvement in size ratios, a further focus on style and fashion and additional investment in value. This will be reinforced by the update of the sub brand strategy, including the relaunch of the Per Una range. This new approach will also come along with a revamp of its stores for a more contemporary in-store environment. A renewal brand format and modernisation will be piloted in the year ahead.