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Marks & Spencer share price: what’s the latest ahead of its half-year results

The British retailer unveils its half-year earnings next week, but with sales across its core divisions declining analysts are expecting the company to announce a slump in profits.

M&S Source: Bloomberg

Marks & Spencer (M&S) faces an uphill battle, with the retailer plagued by tough trading conditions that have seen its revenues decline 3% to £10.4 billion and pre-tax profit fall by 9.9% to £523.3 million last year.

Next week, the British retailer will unveil its half-year results, but with sales continuing to fall across its core divisions like clothing and home, analysts are expecting its profits to take another hit.

Tony Shiret a stockbroker at Whitman Howard told This is Money that profit before exceptional costs is expected to fall to £185million in the six months to the end of September, down from £224 million in the same period last year.

‘[M&S] has had nearly £1.5billion of exceptional charges in the last three years. There will be more.’ he added. ‘Its accounts have become a bit of a farce to be honest.’

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M&S shares continue to slide

The British retailer’s ailing sales are reflected in its share price, with the stock down 25% since the beginning of the year, trading at 175p as of 12:25 GMT on Friday.

Sales in its core clothing and home divisions have been hit hard by increasing online competition and high operating costs associated with maintaining a physical presence on the high street.

M&S chairman Archie Norman admitted that it will take many years to turn the company around and address the shift in consumer preference towards online shopping.

However, the company has taken steps to attract more customers in the build up to Christmas, with the retailer launching a ‘buy now, pay later’ service in November. The service, which M&S created with the help of Australian firm Clearpay, aims to attract younger customers and boost trade during the holiday season.

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