M&S Colney

Source: Marks & Spencer

Top story

M&S is expected to reclaim its spot in the list of the UK’s most valuable companies today for the first time in four years following a recent turnaround in fortunes.

The high street bellwether dropped out of London’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index four years ago as profits and sales were hit by its ailing fashion division.

However, a revival has taken place in the past year under the leadership of CEO Stuart Machin and chairman Archie Norman as the retailer improved its offer and made the food side of the group more competitive.

The latest quarterly FTSE index review will take place this evening, based on yesterday’s closing share prices, with M&S expected to be among the stocks promoted.

Shares in M&S climbed 1.9% to 221.2p yesterday, giving it a market cap of £4.4bn and putting the stock up almost 75% in the year to date as its turnaround finally took hold following a number of false starts.

The shares hit a near four-year high earlier this month when the group surprised the City with an unexpected earnings upgrade, reporting that like-for-like food sales were up by more than 11% in the first 19 weeks of the financial year to 12 August.

It follows M&S winning Grocer of the Year for the first time and Machin winning the Grocer Cup at the Grocer Gold Awards.

Machin told The Mail on Sunday this weekend that returning to the FTSE 100 would be “just another day” and added there was “lots to do”.

“We’re only as good as our customers shopping with us say we are on any given day,” he told the paper. “If we do right by our customers, we’ll do right by our shareholders.

“Although we’ve made progress, we’ve got lots to do and my mantra is to be positively dissatisfied – always seeking to raise the bar.”

The Grocer recently published a feature asking ‘how big can M&S get in food - and how will it get there?’.

Click here to read more.

Morning update

It remains quiet on the markets for fmcg news following the bank holiday weekend.

The FTSE 100 is up another 0.4% to 7,496.08 after a good start to the week.

Early risers include Premier Foods, up 2.1% to 124p, C&C Group, up 2.1% to 140p, AG Barr, up 1.8% to 494.5p, Hilton Food Group, up 1.2% to 698p, and Greggs, up 1.1% to 2,484p.

Bakkavor and Just Eat Takeaway are among the losers so far, down 1.8% to 98p and 1.5% to 1,082p respectively.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 made good gains as trading resumed following the bank holiday weekend, with the index up 1.7% to 7,464.99pts.

THG, Nichols and Ocado all registered big wins, jumping 7.9% to 94.8p, 6.1% to 1,050p and 5.5% to 782.8p respectively.

Hotel Chocolat was one of the few fallers, down 1.9% to 102p.