Results to April 2 revealed a 19% slump in group profits before tax and exceptional items to £618m from £763.2m last year.
UK retail sales were also down 1.7% to £7,034.7m from £7,159.8m last year and food sales, although up 2.4% on last year to £3,509.7m, were down 2.6% on a like-for-like basis.
Investors largely left their outlook for the group unchanged and welcomed the fact that M&S had met forecasts. Indeed, M&S shares rose 1.5% to 342p.
Standard Life, one of M&S’ biggest investors said that it was confident the retailer’s recovery plan was on track, while F&C Asset Management said that the M&S board “still has the benefit of the doubt”.
M&S assured that it was on course to deliver cost and margin savings of more than £250m by the end of 2005-6 and £320m by the end of 2006-7.
However, M&S chief executive Stuart Rose failed to reveal current trading - only stating that he saw no change in conditions for the next six to nine months.