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M&S Chief: Market Will Remain Tough This Year

The chief executive of Marks & Spencer, Marc Bolland, has predicted that the market "will remain challenging for the foreseeable future," with consumer spending "to remain cautious and carefully planned."

Bolland made his comments in M&S's annual report, which was released on Thursday.

Commenting on the retailer's food business, which rose 3.9% last year to hit £4.1bn (STG), Bolland said the retailer "strengthened our position as a specialist retailer and benefited from customers’ ongoing trust in our provenance and innovation."

The General Merchandise side of the business, however, under performed, with Bolland describing it as "unsatisfactory, but we took action and have set out a clear plan for improvement."

M&S remains focused on its plan to transform "from a traditional British retailer into a leading international multi-channel retailer," Bolland said, with International sales (including Ireland) up 4.5% last year. 

While the report does not give any sales data for Ireland, it notes that while the trading conditions here were "tough", the retailer successfully rolled out new programmes, including the rollout of contactless payments and local sourcing.

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