Marks & Spencer to lower price of clothes

Marks and Spencer . Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire
Marks and Spencer . Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire
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Marks and Spencer chiefs have warned that profits will be hit as they introduce radical plans to revamp the clothing and home range sections of the business.

New chief executive Steve Rowe has announced he intends to make a number of changes to the clothing range in particular, lowering prices and improving style, fit and quality.

And his new strategy also includes a review of all its shop locations by the autumn, possibly leading to closures.

Mr Rowe said he had already cut the price of 3.5 million clothing items in the past couple of weeks and plans to reduce the number of sales promotions.

He said: “These actions, combined with the difficult trading conditions, will have an adverse effect on profit in the short term.”

Marks and Spencer reported a rise in underlying profits to the year ending on April 2nd of 4.3% to £689m. however sales in the clothing and homewares division were down by 3% over the past year.

Mr Rowe told the BBC he would move the emphasis from fashion to “stylish contemporary clothing” in the face of stiff competition from Next and Zara, among others.

Mr Rowe, who took over from Marc Bolland, has already announced plans to cut the size of the top management team to bring the company closer to its customers and is promising to invest in staff in the stores.

The company said its food business, which meakes up half of its profits, was still performing well.