Marks & Spencer has reported its first loss in its 94 years as a publicly listed company after clothing sales were hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The retailer said it made a pretax loss before one-off items of 17.4 million pounds in the 26 weeks to Sept. 26 – its first loss since listing its shares on the stock market in 1926.

The outcome was ahead of analysts’ average forecast of a loss of 59 million pounds and compares to a profit of 176.5 million pounds in the same period last year.

Clothing and home sales fell 21.3% in the second quarter after a first-quarter decline of 61.5%.

Steve Rowe CEO said:

“In a year when it has become impossible to forecast with any degree of accuracy, our performance has been much more robust than at first seemed possible. This reflects the resilience of our business and the incredible efforts of my M&S colleagues who have been quite simply outstanding. But out of adversity comes opportunity and, through our Never the Same Again programme, we have brought forward three years change in one to become a leaner, faster and more digital business. From launching M&S Food online with Ocado to establishing an integrated online business division ‘MS2’ to step-change growth, we are taking the right actions to come through the crisis stronger and set up to win in the new world.”


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