Brokers yesterday warned that profits at Marks & Spencer for the past six months could fall short of earlier expectations.

Nomura said it expected the high street giant to announce first-half profits of £307.2m, which would represent a fall of 12% on the equivalent term last year.

It attributed the gloomy forecast to a greater than expected squeeze on consumer spending power and “near-term operational inflexibility” at M&S.

In the medium term, Nomura said it “remained supportive of the management plan” to invigorate the business, which includes adding in-store bakeries and delis to the food offer.

“While the plan was conceived anticipating stable economic conditions, the macro and consumer environment has since deteriorated,” Nomura said in yesterday’s note.

“Shareholders might therefore ask if this can be ‘done for less’ and look for flexibility from management at the interim results on 8 November.”

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