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Marks and Spencer profits drop 34%

Published: 4 November 2008
But board assures shareholders that interim dividend will not be cut.
Marks and Spencer profits drop 34%
High street retailer Marks and Spencer's half year results have revealed a 34% dip in pre-tax profit to £307.8m from £550.1m last year.

UK like-for-like (lfl) sales were down 5.7% in total, with general merchandise experiencing a slide of 6.2%.

Encouragingly total home sales were up 4% for the 26-week period to September 27, despite UK total revenue being down 1.1%.

Total international revenue was up 23.9%, helped by Marks and Spencer increasing its overseas retail space by 2.8% to 2.95m sq ft.

The company confirmed it would not be cutting its dividend, as predicted by some analysts, and will pay an interim dividend of 8.3p a share.

Despite the drop, the retailer has performed better than expected and attributed this to tightly managing its cost base. It also generated £62.4m during the year from 'disposal of properties and equipment'.

However, chairman Stuart Rose talked about 'volatile' trading conditions and said that Marks and Spencer "remain cautious about the outlook for the remainder of the year."

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