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M&S Food Makes Good Start To New Financial Year, Says Boss

By Donna Ahern
M&S Food Makes Good Start To New Financial Year, Says Boss

British retailer Marks & Spencer's food business has made "a good start" to its 2023-24 financial year, the group's boss told investors on Tuesday.

Chief executive Stuart Machin said M&S took a 130 basis points hit to its food margin in the year ended 1 April as it decided not to pass on to customers the full impact of cost inflation.

The group grew food sales 8.7% over the year.

"That has given us a good start by the way into this year," he said at the retailer's annual shareholders' meeting, which was held virtually for a fourth straight year.

Caution 

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Machin cautioned that food prices won't come down as quickly as they went up.

"I'm slightly worried about deflation, because it's not going to come down as quick as the inflation," he said.

"Now we're tracking that really carefully and trying to pass that on as well to customers."

Fastest Growing Food Retailer

M&S is Britain's fastest growing food retailer after discounters Aldi and Lidl, according to the latest data from market researcher NIQ.

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Its shares are up 56% so far this year.

Separately on Tuesday, Sainsbury's, Britain's second largest grocer, said food inflation was falling.

M&S chairman Archie Norman said the board would think again about holding virtual-only annual general meetings after a backlash from some investors who want to attend in person.

"The question I know people are asking is: 'Why can't I come along physically and look the chairman eye to eye and buttonhole him,' I don't think that's unreasonable," he said.

Read More: Britain's M&S The Latest Supermarket To Cut Prices

News by Reuters, edited by Donna Ahern, Checkout. For more retail news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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