Page last updated at 11:55 GMT, Friday, 6 June 2008 12:55 UK

M&S lowers executive bonus target

Marks and Spencer store on Oxford Street, London
M&S is facing tough trading conditions in the UK

Marks and Spencer has given a hint of the tough High Street environment, lowering the profits the firm has to make for directors to earn bonuses.

Top executives will achieve a maximum payout if earnings per share grow by more than 8% above inflation, compared with a 12% target the previous year.

But M&S said the new target was "at least as challenging" in the current economic climate.

Separately, John Lewis saw its fourth week in a row of lower yearly sales.

Difficult outlook

Takings at the department store were 4.7% lower last week than the same period a year earlier although they were up 9.5% on the previous week's performance.

"The recent underlying trend in sales is undeniably weaker," said Global Insight analyst Howard Archer.

"It adds to the mounting evidence that the consumer is now increasingly reining in his or her spending - either out of choice or out of necessity - in the face of serious pressures."

M&S profits for the year to the end of March 2009 are expected to be well below the 1bn recorded in the previous year.

"While performance continued to improve in 2007/08 and we are confident in its long-term growth prospects, the short term economic outlook means it is likely to be much more difficult to achieve such high growth in the next few years," the firm's annual report said.

Chief executive Sir Stuart Rose saw his 2007/8 bonus shrink by almost 1m after the iconic High Street brand missed internal targets.

Nevertheless, he was still paid 1.38m.

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