Marks & Spencer store front

Source: Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer has posted an increase in annual sales and profits

Marks & Spencer has found itself back in fashion with investors after its annual profits beat City expectations, with the retailer crediting improvements in the style credentials of its clothing and more affordable food (The Times £).

Marks & Spencer has posted an increase in annual sales and profits, sending shares up almost 12% on Wednesday and cementing its position as the best-performing retail stock in the UK in the past year as its turnround gains momentum (Financial Times £).

Marks & Spencer soundly beat annual profit forecasts and said it would reinstate a “modest” dividend in November as its turnaround plan continues to gather momentum (The Times £).

Marks & Spencer profits were squeezed by inflationary pressure last year, but investors have cheered bumper clothing and food sales (Mail).

Strong sales of dresses, denim and office wear as well as more affordable food helped lift sales and profits at Marks & Spencer’s in the past year despite the effects of inflation on its business and customers (The Guardian).

Marks & Spencer has vowed to push on with adding more self-checkouts across its stores after hundreds were installed in a bid to cut costs (Telegraph).

A business editorial in The Guardian reckons M&S’ recovery “finally looks like the real deal”. “With annual performance above City forecasts, M&S is getting the basics right in a tough sector,” Nils Pratley writes.

M&S shareholders have reason to regret ths tie-up with Ocado, according to an opinion column in the Financial Times (£), as the retailer’s joint venture acts as a drap on the group’s recovery.

The business editorial in the Telegraph focuses on the M&S plan to install more self-checkouts in its stores and calls the news “desperately depressing”. “The only reason that so many major retailers insist on stuffing their shops with self-checkouts is in the seemingly never-ending quest for lower overheads, as M&S makes perfectly clear. It’s a race to the bottom.”

An analysis of the M&S results in The Guardian concludes that when it comes to fashion, the retailer “is on the right wavelength”. “Reliable sizing, sweet-spot pricing and contemporary – but not faddish – styles are helping high street retailer stand out.”

Consumer prices rose at their slowest rate in a year in April but in worrying news for households and the government key measures of prices continued to rise (The Times £).

The Bank of England is expected to raise interest rates above 5% before the end of the year after the UK annual inflation rate fell by less than expected last month as food prices accelerated at the fastest pace for 45 years (The Guardian).

The Financial Times (£) highlights the role wage growth at supermarkets, including Lidl and M&S, is having on food price inflation.

British households have paid £7bn since Brexit to cover the extra cost of trade barriers on food imports from the EU, according to researchers at the London School of Economics (The Guardian).

C&C Group has brought back dividend payments after its earnings soared last year thanks to price hikes and an absence of Covid-related restrictions (The Mail).

Taking a daily multivitamin pill can help to keep your mind three years younger, research suggests (The Times £).

Going vegetarian or vegan can lower the risk of stroke and heart attacks, a research analysis has confirmed (The Times £).

The US Federal Trade Commission is probing whether infant formula producers, including Abbott Laboratories and Nestlé, have engaged in collusion in relation to bids for a government programme (Financial Times £).