Marks & Spencer rolls back dividend payments as sales rise
Archen & Spencer has announced strong consumer demand despite client finances and outlined plans to resume dividend payments in the first set of full-year results released by incoming CEO Stuart Machin.
For the 12 months ended April 1, sales came in ahead of growth of 7.7% and 10.5%, respectively, that analysts for food, clothing and home had forecast. They totaled £3.7 billion, up 11.5%, and £7.2 billion, up 8.7 percent.
Promoted to the top spot in May last year, Machin has since taken a number of steps to retain and attract customers, including the launch of the M&S loyalty program Sparks in 25 international markets and the launch of new dine-in offers such as £10 steak night and investments to tie some products for specific periods.
He said: “Despite the significant headwinds, I am encouraged by the strong foundations laid over the past year and look forward to what we can achieve in the coming year.”
Statutory pre-tax profit was £475.7m, up from £391.7m.
Machin, joined by Katie Bickerstaffe as his co-CEO, is also continuing the restructuring of the retailer’s vast inventory begun by predecessor Steve Rowe.
Plans were announced in October to close 67 “less productive, full-stock stores” over the next five fiscal years. However, over the same period, the company will invest significantly in opening 104 more Simply Food locations. There are currently around 550 branches. The company suspended dividend payments early in the pandemic to protect its balance sheet. It said today, “As the Company reports improved operating performance and has a strengthened balance sheet with investment grade credit metrics, the board plans to return to shareholders a modest annual dividend, beginning with an interim dividend on November earnings.” “ ”
https://www.standard.co.uk/business/marks-spencer-to-bring-back-dividend-payments-retailer-stuart-machin-m-s-b1083278.html Marks & Spencer rolls back dividend payments as sales rise