How Marks & Spencer's fortunes were turned around by a shelf-stacker who made ... trends now
Marks & Spencer has had a dramatic turnaround in fortunes, in a triumph for its former shelf-stacker boss.
The store's rising sales have led to a 56 per cent increase in half-year pre-tax profits, taking them to £325.6 million.
Chief executive Stuart Machin, whose working life began as £3.80-an-hour shelf-stacker at Sainsbury's and reportedly now earns £800,000, has played a big part in the success.
Rising food and clothing sales saw M&S regain top spot as Britain's favourite fashion retailer for the first time in four years.
Chief executive Stuart Machin's (pictured) working life began as £3.80-an-hour shelf-stacker at Sainsbury's, and he reportedly now earns £800,000
One of M&S' dresses was modelled by Hannah Waddingham in its star-studded festive TV ad
Its high-quality food lines have won customers who are dining more at home rather than eating out.
Total sales for the six months to the end of September were up by 10.8 per cent on the same period last year to £6.1 billion.
On the back of this, operating profit rose 83.7 per cent to £315 million and the pre-tax profit before adjustments was up 75.3 per cent £360.2 million.
Food sales were up by 14.7 per cent, while the company responded to cost-of-living concerns with its Remarksable Value range offering price freezes and cuts across more than 200 lines. Clothing and home sales increased 5.7 per cent at a time when many rivals have struggled.
Mr Machin said: 'We are definitely seeing good sales performance in our Christmas ranges. In food, people are buying into the ranges and actually eating those ranges now.
'I think we're in very good shape. We have maintained our relentless focus on trusted value, giving our customers exceptional quality product at the best possible price.'
Robyn Duffy, senior analyst at RSM UK, said the results 'show that Brits have fallen back in love with M&S'.