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Marks & Spencer reap 29 per cent profit

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Marks & Spencer Group PLC posted a 29 per cent jump in underlying profit for fiscal 2007, to GBP965.2 million – against GBP751.4 million a year ago. Net profit rose 26 per cent to GBP659.9 million in fiscal 2007, from GBP523.1 million a year earlier. The results flowed from strong sales growth, improved market share in clothing categories and food, and margin improvement.

“We have had a satisfactory start to the new financial year, despite tough comparatives and significant disruption to trading in our stores as a result of the modernisation programme,” Chief Executive Stuart Rose said in a statement.

“We expect the retail environment to become more challenging: competition remains intense, and pressure on consumer spending as a result of interest rate rises will also increase. Nevertheless, we are confident we can make further progress in 2007-08,” Rose noted.

In addition to consolidating its existing international operations, the UK retailer is also evaluating expansion in Europe, India and China. The company has hired Carl Leaver, former CEO of hotel chain De Vere Group PLC, as director of International.

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