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Tuesday, 5 November, 2002, 16:52 GMT
M&S unveils surge in profits
M&S storefront
M&S is cheering customers with new ranges
Marks & Spencer, the UK's largest clothing retailer, has beaten City expectations by reporting a 30% leap in profits for the first half of the year.

The group revealed profits of 287m for the six months to 28 September, against forecasts of 266-80m.

However, the retailer sounded a note of caution by admitting the market was becoming "less buoyant".

Its lacklustre performance a year ago could also be emphasising gains made this year.

"We are coming up against less challenging year-on-year comparisons," said chairman Luc Vandevelde.

Back in fashion

M&S has been rebuilding its business over the last year after losing its focus and suffering a sharp slump in sales.

The group has sold its overseas outlets, introduced new clothing ranges and rejuvenated its management.

New chief executive Roger Holmes, who took over the role earlier this year, said the company was gaining market share from its competitors in its core areas of food, clothing and homeware.

The group said this was "a further indication that we have moved from securing, to sustaining the recovery".

M&S stock has outperformed the retail sector average by 12% over the last six months.

But the latest figures proved unable to sustain the stockmarket run, and M&S shares closed 26.5p, or 7.0%, lower at 353p in London on Tuesday.



Seeking the spark

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See also:

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