Marks And Spencer H1 Underlying Pretax Profit Up 6.1%; Ups Dividend

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Marks and Spencer Group Plc (MAKSY.PK, MAKSF.PK, MKS.L) reported profit before tax of 216.0 million pounds for the 26 weeks ended 26 Sep 15 compared to 279.4 million pounds, previous year. Earnings per share was 10.4 pence compared to 13.8 pence.

Underlying profit before tax increased to 284.0 million pounds from 267.6 million pounds, last year. Underlying earnings per share was 14.0 pence compared to 13.3 pence, prior year.

Group revenue rose to 4.95 billion pounds from 4.90 billion pounds, last year. International sales were down 0.9%.

Marc Bolland, Chief Executive, said: “We delivered good underlying profit growth in the first half and made strong progress against our key priorities. Our Food business again outperformed the market by over 3% points as our focus on quality and innovation continues to set us apart. In General Merchandise we decided to improve profitability by focusing on gross margin, delivering another significant increase, which in part resulted in slightly lower sales.” The Group raised the interim dividend by 6.3% to 6.8 pence per share.

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