British retailer Marks & Spencer reported a much better-than-expected 75% rise in first-half profit but cautioned the combination of high borrowing costs, erratic weather and geopolitical events may soon weigh on shoppers.
The 139-year old clothing and food group, one of the best known names in British business, said its trading momentum had been maintained through October and it was planning for a good Christmas, with customers already responding positively to its ranges.
But it cautioned the economic outlook remained uncertain and flagged the impact on the consumer from the highest interest rates in 20 years, deflation, geopolitical events, and erratic weather.
"Therefore, against more challenging comparatives, we expect profit before tax and adjusting items to be weighted towards the first half, as we remain laser-focused on our long-term ambition to reshape M&S for future growth," it said.
M&S reported profit before tax and adjusting items of £360.2 million for the six months to 30 September, versus analysts' average forecast of £276 million and £205.5 million made in the same period last year.