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M&S profits up, despite uncertain outlook

Published:  23 July, 2008

Half year pre-tax profits at revitalised store chain Marks & Spencer rose to 451.8million despite poor weather and disruption from a store refit programme.

The group saw profits up 11.5% and described the performance as "good" in face of inclement summer weather.

Same-store sales at the retail giant, which exclude new store openings, were up 1.6% in the UK from a year earlier. The group's half-year UK food sales were up 0.5%.

The firm's total sales for the half-year came to 4.2bn, a 6.5% increase on the same period last year.

M&S warned that the short term UK retail outlook remained "uncertain".

"We had a good first half despite a tough market impacted by unseasonable trading conditions, and at a time when many of our stores were undergoing major refurbishment," said M&S chief executive Stuart Rose.

"Whilst the short term economic outlook remains uncertain, the actions we have taken to reposition and revitalise M&S over the last three years put us in a good position to continue to outperform and give us confidence in the long term growth prospects of the business."

The group said it would also be spending more than 1bn this year and next on developing the business.