M&S reveals first profits fall in three years
RETAIL giant Marks & Spencer has unveiled its first drop in profits since 2009.
The firm said underlying pre-tax profits fell by one per cent to £705.9 million in the year to March 31.
But sales were up two per cent at £9.9 billion.
M&S runs more than 700 stores across the UK, including branches at Hanley, Crewe and Stafford, an outlet site at Freeport Talke and Simply Food branches at North Stafford Services on the M6, Congleton and Crewe.
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Plans are in the pipeline for new stores in Hanley and Wolstanton.
In November 2010 chief executive Marc Bolland set a target to grow sales by between £1.5 billion and £2.5 billion over three years but he has now cut that aim to between £1.1 billion and £1.7 billion as a result of the harsh economic climate.
In addition, Mr Bolland said the group now expected to invest £200 million less in its UK stores over the remaining two years of its strategy review.
He said: "Marks & Spencer performed well in a challenging economic environment. While the environment has deteriorated since we first set out our strategic plans, we have made significant progress."