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Marks and Spencer underlying profit before tax rose 6.1%

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Marks and Spencer
Marks and Spencer   Food business had an outstanding year

Marks and Spencer has reported a rise in full-year profits, saying it made "good progress" during the year. Underlying profit before tax rose 6.1% to £661.2m for the year to 28 March.

Its food business had an "outstanding year", the company said, but sales of general merchandise - which includes clothing - were below expectations. However, sales of womenswear rose in the final quarter.

Chief executive Marc Bolland told the BBC's Today Programme that the improved results came despite the most difficult retail market in 15 years. He also said that the company was confident in the strength of its clothing.

"We've never had more design capability," Mr Bolland said. M&S also raised its dividend by 5.9% and announced a £150m share buyback programme.

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