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Tuesday, 19 May, 1998, 08:06 GMT 09:06 UK
Marks & Spencer profits top expectations
Marks and Spencer logo
British High Street retailer Marks & Spencer has announced profits at the top end of analysts' forecasts. In the year to the end of March pre-tax profits rose 6% to 1.17bn ($1.9bn) - up from 1.102bn last time.

Analysts had predicted profits to be somewhere between 1.11bn and 1.17bn.

The retail chain's turnover increased 5.1% to 8.24bn ($13.4bn).

The group said the strong pound and the collapse of Asian markets had reduced its overseas profits, but that this was more than offset by an exceptional UK VAT credit of $53m.

The company's chairman, Sir Richard Greenbury, announced the dividend would be raised by 10% to 14.3p, but warned that the group's capital investment programme would hit results in the short-term.

Sir Richard, however, said he was confident the group would generate significant sales growth and profits from 1999/2000.

M&S staff will benefit as well. The company announced staff would receive a 4% pay increase, plus a discretionary 1.25%. The salary package, effective from July 1, is worth 80m.

In a trading statement issued in January, the group had warned that the cost of January sales would be 15m more than it had budgeted.


Turnover - 8.243bn vs 7.84bn
Pretax - 1.168bn vs 1.102bn
EPS - 29.1p vs 26.7p
Final dividend - 10.7p
full year 14.3p vs 13.0p

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