M&S says must accelerate change or die

M&S profits plunge 62pc amid sweeping store closure plans

M&S store closure costs result in 62% annual profit plunge

M&S, one of the best known names in British retail, made a pretax profit before one off items of £580.9m in the year to March 31.

The company announced that it will be shutting 100 stores by 2022 as part of a "transformation programme" as it continues to struggle.

M&S had in November 2016 launched a five-year overhaul of its United Kingdom stores amid fierce competition from supermarkets and budget garment chain Primark - as well as online giants like Amazon. "Alongside relocations, conversions, downsizes and the introduction of concessions, these closures will radically reshape M&S's clothing and home space".

M&S is expected to report a second straight fall in annual profit on Wednesday, and with the retailer's shares down almost a quarter over the past year it is in danger of soon being booted out of the FTSE 100 index. But like-for-like food sales dropped 0.3% with the group blaming intense competition.

"We have been clear about our plans to accelerate our store closure program and the action we must take to build a business with sustainable, profitable growth", an M&S spokesperson said.

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The move, which has been touted as part of a "radical transformation" plan by the retailer after years of falling sales, represents a "dramatic retreat from the United Kingdom high street that will trigger thousands of job losses" says The Guardian.

"These, together with a challenging United Kingdom consumer market, mean that we have to modernise our business to ensure we are competitive and reignite our culture". "Accelerated change is the only option".

Steve Rowe, an M&S lifer who has been CEO for two years, said the firm was taking steps to fix the structural issues.

Sacha Berendji-the retail, operations and property director at M&S said that that they are making nice advancement with their plans of restructuring their store chains for making them more relevant to the customers and to assist the online growth plans. "Our supply chains in both Clothing & Home and in Food require significant upgrades, so that we can be faster to market, reduce high stock levels in Clothing, and improve availability and waste in Food".

The company also warned that its website was "too slow", adding it was lagging behind online competitors.

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