The headline figures of Marks & Spencer’s recent results don’t make for great reading. The retailer fell to a £201m loss for the 52 weeks to March 27, compared to a £67m profit the year before, its first annual loss for 94 years. Thirty stores will close.
Like everyone in the sector, M&S has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic that saw in-store demand for clothing and home items drop by 31%. Its cafes were closed and it’s not been able to rely on busy office workers for its heavy food-on-the-go offering. In December the retailer decided not to repay £83.7m in business rates relief.
But M&S's tone is remarkably upbeat. “In a year like no other we have delivered a resilient trading performance,” says CEO Steve Rowe.