Marks and Spencer : HALF YEAR RESULTS FOR 26 WEEKS ENDED 1 OCTOBER 2022 | MarketScreener

2022-11-09 16:49:57 By : Ms. Monica Pan

Reshaping for growth and increasing resilience to outperform in the downturn

Stuart Machin, Chief Executive said:

"Trading in the first half has been robust with both businesses growing ahead of the market, reflecting the beginnings of a reshaped M&S. In Food, investment in trusted value has driven top-line growth but short-term profit has been reduced, although the acquisition of Gist gives us control of one of our biggest cost and efficiency levers. Clothing has delivered a stand-out performance from a market leading position in value with improving style credentials. The programme to renew and rotate our store estate is driving sales and quick paybacks, while the M&S App now accounts for over a third of online Clothing & Home sales. At Ocado Retail, the customer proposition is being re-energised under new leadership. Underpinning our business is an improved balance sheet with reduced debt and a strong cash position.

This progress means we face into the current market headwinds with an increased resilience and level of confidence. Looking beyond the current stormy weather, much is in our control and our mandate is clear - to step up the pace, accelerate change, drive a simpler, leaner business and invest in growth opportunities to build a reshaped M&S."

Operating profit before adjusting items

Profit before tax & adjusting items

Adjusted basic earnings per share

Net debt excluding lease liabilities

There are a number of non-GAAP measures and alternative profit measures (APMs), discussed within this announcement and a glossary and reconciliation to statutory measures is provided at the end. Adjusted results are consistent with how business performance is measured internally and presented to aid comparability. Refer to adjusting items table below for further details.

1 All references to 'sales' throughout this announcement are statutory revenue plus the gross value of consignment sales excluding VAT.

As we enter what is traditionally our strongest quarter the business continues to trade well. Trading in the first four weeks of the second half is in line with forecasts, with Clothing & Home sales up 4.2%, Food sales up 3.0% and International up 4.1%.

Overall, we expect to deliver an adjusted profit before tax in FY23 for our main businesses, including Gist, similar to the expectations set out at our FY22 results. This excludes business rates relief and the prior year contribution of Russia from the base as well as Ocado Retail, which is now expected to record a loss.

Across all M&S markets it is highly likely that conditions will become more challenging in FY24. However, the far-reaching changes made over the past few years, together with a reinvigorated product offer and strong value for money credentials provide some insulation from the gathering storm. In addition, the M&S customer base has slightly advantaged demographics.

Under new leadership, steps are now being taken to accelerate migration into growth channels - online and high performing modern stores - whilst at the same time bringing forward plans to streamline the business and reduce costs. The combination of technology-driven efficiency gains, structural cost reduction, supply chain efficiency and simplification is targeted to deliver over c.£150m of cost savings in 2023/24.

The Group enters this period of uncertainty with a significantly improved balance sheet position, with very low refinancing requirements following several years of debt reduction. However, given the macro outlook the board will defer consideration of capital allocation policy and options for reinstating capital returns to shareholders until nearer the year end.


M&S Food outperformed the market on both value and volume, but operating profit declined. We delivered resilient sales growth of 5.6%, with LFL sales growth of 3.0%, in a period of market-wide cost and price pressure. The business generated particularly strong growth in hospitality and franchise sales compared with last year. Sales excluding these areas grew 1.9% but remain substantially ahead of pre-Covid levels in line with our strategy to broaden the reach of the business.

Operating profit before adjusting items was £71.8m as compared to £124.0m in 2021/22 excluding £19.7m of business rates relief received in the prior period. The combination of investment in value and a first half weighted increase in operating costs led to the reduction in margin to 2.2%, although this improved through the period (Q1 2.0%, Q2 2.4%).

A reduction in gross margin of 110bps reflected continued investment in quality and price.

In addition, the business experienced significant cost growth, with overall costs up 8.4% on last year (ex-rates relief), resulting in a c.70bps reduction in margin.

The acquisition of Gist Limited, which completed at the end of the period, should also help alleviate these cost pressures as we proceed with its integration into M&S.

Investing in trusted value: The strategy for M&S Food is always to provide higher quality, sustainably-sourced food at outstanding prices. At a time when family budgets are under stress it is a priority for us to sustain 'trusted value' and provide assurance for our customers.

Accelerating the pace of innovation: During the period c.900 new products were introduced, up 4% on last year.

Renewal roll-out performing well: The M&S Food strategy is to shift to larger stores in the renewal format which offers greater choice in core categories, appealing to a broader range of customers.

Taking control of the M&S Food supply chain: The acquisition of Gist Limited was completed, enabling M&S to address the significant headwind of supply chain costs.


M&S Clothing & Home delivered strong growth with total sales up 14.0% and LFL sales up 13.7%. Full price sales participation was broadly level on last year and well above the historic average. Market share increased 50bps to 9.1% (source Kantar 24 weeks ended 22nd September), and we generated growth across categories and channels.

Store sales were up 18.8%. Growth was driven by stores in city centres and shopping centres reflecting the return to more normal trading patterns, although high streets continued to lag. Online sales increased 4.9% and were 32% of total Clothing & Home sales, with continued strong growth in traffic and increased average order values, partly offset by higher returns rates.

Operating profit before adjusting items was £171.4m as compared to £128.4m in 2021/22 excluding business rates relief of £27.8m received in the prior period, an increase of 33%. Strong first half net margins of 9.8% reflect the rebound in store sales, a steady full price mix and operating leverage due to sales growth.

Value for money and style improving with shape of buy: M&S Clothing & Home continues to perform well on indicators of improved value for money and style, with value perception leading the market, and style perception steadily increasing.

Strong growth in formal and event driven categories:

Clothing & Home renewal format encouraging: During the period a full line renewal store was opened in Stevenage, with the nearby legacy store in Welwyn Garden City closing.

Initial steps to unlock supply chain cost opportunity: Today, the Clothing & Home supply chain has an end-to-end cost to serve of c.15% which affords a substantial opportunity for efficiency by transforming stock flow from source to shelf and rapid replenishment back to shelf for returns. This includes:


Ocado Retail revenue declined 4.2% and the contribution to group share of net loss was negligible at £(0.7)m.

Re-energising the customer proposition under new leadership: During the pandemic, Ocado Retail experienced very strong trading conditions, which translated into a strong profit performance.

M&S financial period

Average orders per week (k)

Retail revenue (£m ex VAT)

Notes: Retail revenue comprises revenues from and Ocado Zoom

Strong growth in new customers: Market conditions for all online food companies are still normalising after the pandemic and as a result basket sizes have reduced with the customer order pattern having shifted back towards the end of the week.

Increased fixed costs and short-term headwinds: As previously reported, increased fixed costs because of CFC capacity expansion combined with higher fulfilment and delivery costs, including sharp increases in the cost of utilities and dry ice weighed on margin.

Capacity for substantial growth: The overall result in the near term reflects a combination of post pandemic reversion, increased capacity and cost inflation, the majority of which is expected to be temporary.


The objective for the M&S store estate is to create a more focused group of high productivity full line stores, fit for omni-channel retailing and a growing pipeline of bigger, fresher, Food locations with high quality click and collect services. New stores generate higher sales productivity and profitability and are lower cost to operate.

Rotation improves the quality of earnings: As with most retailers M&S has few stores which make a cash loss on a rent adjusted basis. However, we continue to have a tail of low productivity stores, with contribution margins in Clothing & Home well below the estimated average of c. 22% and well below estimated incremental online margins at c. 26%. As a result, rotation out of the tail can improve profitability in the medium term due to the increased contribution of new stores and the recapture of sales online at a higher margin. To achieve our stated profit and growth objectives, rotating into fewer high productivity modern omni channel stores is critical and we aim to accelerate this programme.

Grasping nettles to accelerate change: In the full line estate, the aim is to accelerate a five-year plan to reduce the net store base which currently totals 248 stores down to c.180 through closures and relocations. During the first half 2 new full line stores opened at Colchester and Stevenage and 3 were closed.

In the M&S Food estate, the ambition is to open up to c.100 new Food stores in new locations over the next five years in the bigger, fresher Food format of 12-15,000 square feet with good access and parking. During the first half 3 of these new Simply Food stores opened at Banbridge, New Milton and Wyvern Derby.

The current pipeline of new openings over the period to FY25 includes 10 full line stores and 27 Food stores and the business continues to actively market for new opportunities. New stores are being secured on strong terms, with short leases and they are generating substantially improved sales productivity compared with legacy locations and quick paybacks on the net capital invested. For instance, 2 stores were opened in H1 2021/22 at Paisley and Sears Solihull. Following 12 months of trading, both are outperforming their business cases and paying back the net capital invested in just over 2 years.

Our recent experience confirms that the programme can be accelerated by growing the pipeline of replacement stores, and recapturing sales online and in existing nearby stores, whilst also managing the cost-effective exit from legacy locations and leases. During the period, we started a programme to increase recapture of sales from closure stores to nearby stores and online by increasing customer data capture and targeted marketing. In some cases, once we have exited a legacy store, it is possible to sell the freehold or long leasehold, while in others a residual liability remains to the end of the lease term. However, we believe there are early signs our property development team can reduce exit costs for these sites.

Using technology to lower cost to serve: New stores offer a better shopping environment with omni-channel services including improved click and collect and returns and better use of RFID to manage stock. At the same time our new full-line stores that opened in 2019/20 and 2020/21 have a 130bps lower cost to serve than the average full-line store due, amongst other things, to the reduced need for costly singles replenishment given the increased rate of sale and increased rates of self-checkout and contactless returns.

Progress in asset management: Our property asset development programme should generate capital to support our balance sheet from redeveloping or co-developing high value sites such as Marble Arch, Sauchiehall Street Glasgow, and Hammersmith.

The Planning Inquiry into the Marble Arch redevelopment is progressing, and the business is very confident that the proposed solution will produce an outstanding environmental and aesthetic outcome that will be critical to the restoration of the western precinct of Oxford Street which is in decline.


During the last three years M&S has invested substantially in developing its ability to interact with customers seamlessly online and in store and whilst enabling them to have product delivered or returned through multiple different channels. We have created a customer data engine containing a significant volume of data and attributes relating to our customer base, quadrupled the number of active app users to c.4m, relaunched and grown the Sparks loyalty programme to c.16m members and invested in developing data science capabilities across M&S.

These improvements have required substantial foundational investment of more than £200m, largely expensed through the P&L. However, this has supported the substantial growth of online sales and is now starting to deliver sales traction through increased personalisation and a better online and in store experience.

Investment has been made in day-to-day activities such as running the website, payment processing, Sparks giveaways and staffing, and research into personalisation. This accounts for c.40-50% of current year spend. In addition, growth investment is focused on:

Moving to an omni-channel shopping experience: The objective of the digital investment is to enable personalised customer interaction to encourage customers to use all our sales channels and services. Known customers who shop with M&S through both the online and store channels spend significantly more than single channel customers, while those with four digital relationships through Sparks, M&S Bank, M& and the App spend even more.

Driving growth through the App: Customers using the M&S App account for almost a third of spend and we are able to sustain a more timely and relevant dialogue with App users across all our products and services.

Becoming an attractive partner for brands: The combination of over 30m M&S customers, substantial customer data and engagement alongside omni channel purchase and return opportunities provide a highly attractive potential platform for third party brand partners.

Increasing personalisation: The business is starting to generate substantial value from the customer data platform by personalising offers and product recommendations, making repeat purchase recommendations and using personalised language.

Making it easier to pay and spend at M&S: Our objective is to provide customers with multiple options to pay at M&S and access to appropriate credit opportunities. Sparks Pay was recently launched, creating a digital credit account for Sparks members in a simple one-click payment journey.


International revenue increased 13.7% at constant currency and the business generated an operating profit before adjusting items of £39.0m as compared with £35.9m in 2021/22, which included a contribution of £2.0m from Russia, which we have now exited.

Strong rebound in Clothing & Home: Growth was driven by Clothing & Home sales in key markets including India, where revenue doubled following the effects of Covid lockdowns on the business last year. Food sales were adversely impacted by the exits from the majority of our operations in France and our chilled offering in the Czech Republic as well as on-going Brexit-related disruption in the Republic of Ireland. On a constant currency basis, overall store sales were up 19%, while online sales declined 9%, but were still up c.150% on pre-Covid levels.

Driving growth with key partners: We have an ambitious programme of expansion with Reliance Retail through our India joint venture. This includes increasing the product offer in growth categories such as Kidswear, the global roll-out of Sparks, and continuing to seek opportunities for new space with 3 new store openings in the period. Partner demand in the Middle East and Asia was also robust with orders recovering from the impact of Covid lockdowns last year, and as the business invested in trusted value.

Improving operations in Europe: European online sales declined reflecting subdued demand, although stores performance was robust. Consignment trading with partners has now commenced and plans are well advanced for EU-based fulfilment from a new logistics centre in Croatia, increasing speed to market and reducing cost.

Recovering profitability in the Republic of Ireland: The business in the Republic of Ireland generated a strong sales performance in Clothing & Home, but the Food business continued to be impacted by substantial costs and disruption related to EU border processes. In time, the continued investment in automation and substitution with Irish-sourced product will mitigate some of these costs. To support the growth of the core business an agreement has been signed for a five-store shop-in-shop trial with roadside retailer Applegreen.

As we enter our traditionally strongest quarter, the business continues to trade well. Trading in the first four weeks of the second half is in line with forecasts, with Clothing & Home sales up 4.2%, Food sales up 3.0% and International up 4.1%.

We are set up well for the peak trading period with improved ranges, a strong pipeline of new product and improved value positioning in both businesses. Although there are continued expected pressures on spend and unseasonably warm weather is delaying the change to autumn/winter buying, we think the peak period will present a lot of opportunity for the business with the added benefit of the unusually timed Football World Cup.

Costs will continue to be elevated although we will annualise some cost increases seen in last year's Q3. We have good visibility of all material cost increases for the balance of the year.

Overall, we expect to deliver an adjusted profit before tax in FY23 for our main businesses, including Gist, similar to the expectations set out at our FY22 results. This excludes business rates relief and the prior year contribution of Russia from the base as well as Ocado Retail, which is now expected to record a loss.

Our expectations for capital expenditure for the year remain unchanged. We anticipate around £400m of spend across the three primary investment areas of technology, supply chain and the store estate.

We expect market conditions to become more challenging in FY24. The combined impacts of the cost-of-living squeeze and the most marked rise in the cost of doing business for many years are creating pressure on margins industry-wide.

All parts of the retail sector will be affected, and this will result in unviable capacity leaving the industry, creating opportunities for the leaner players who remain. We believe that the M&S positioning and the accelerated change underway, give scope for greater resilience and we are very confident the business will emerge with a strengthened market position and prospects for growth.

Relative position of M&S customer and proposition

In highly uncertain market conditions, there is a large variation in plausible forecasts for customer demand. Whilst we are therefore planning on a material contraction in market demand the M&S customer may prove more resilient than some market commentators assume. Overall M&S has a broad base of over 30m customers with on average, slightly higher incomes and age demographics in both Clothing & Home and Food. A high proportion of these are in above average paid jobs or retired. Despite the recovery in demand since the pandemic and return to travel these age groups shielded more and many retain a savings cushion affording some resilience to the headwinds.

Clothing & Home has market share positions of more than 15% in categories which are less acutely exposed to discretionary spend, such as leggings, underwear, sleepwear and school uniforms. Collectively these accounted for over 60% of Clothing & Home sales in the past year more than twice their overall position in the clothing market. The M&S Food business has higher market shares in convenience shopping missions, which means its customer proposition offers additional value beyond the weekly grocery shop.

M&S Market Share1

1 Kantar 52 week rolling data to 22 September 2022

A strengthened value position in both businesses

M&S Food offers great value alternatives for customers seeking to save money by reducing eating out. For those scratch cooking, the relaunched Remarksable value range offers everyday lines with M&S quality at competitive prices compared with mainstream supermarkets. While the 'always on' Dine-In offers restaurant quality prepared food for a family of four for just £12.

Alongside this, Clothing & Home has made great strides on value for money since 2018 and now leads the market according to external benchmarks of customer perception, with a substantially larger proportion of the clothing range below £30 than is the case for key peers.

Substantial scope for cost savings

The M&S business is undoubtedly heading into tougher times. But the pace of change has never been greater. Already, more than c.£150m of cost savings have been identified and targeted in FY24 from areas including efficiency of retail operations and the supply chain, optimisation of technology and digital spend and simplification of the organisation. This will be supplemented longer-term by shifting volume into growth channels and rotating the store portfolio.

As outlined, in the Clothing & Home supply chain costs are higher than some industry benchmarks, with potential for optimisation across multiple areas including the returns cycle, store replenishment processes and reconfiguring packaging to reduce handling and shipping costs.

Food supply chain secondary logistics costs have risen by c. 60% over the past four years from 3.7% to 4.9% of sales. In September, the acquisition of Gist Limited was completed enabling M&S Food to take control of its logistics network for the first time, eliminating management fees and enabling the removal of duplicated overheads and other productivity initiatives.

We are also assessing the potential benefits of shared transport fleets across Clothing & Home and Food, to move to more efficient refrigeration and accelerate the in-store LED lighting programme.

Stronger balance sheet with substantial access to liquidity and limited refinancing requirement

The Group enters this period of uncertainty with an improved balance sheet position after several years of reducing debt. As at the end of the half year, the business had cash of c.£770m and committed facilities of £850m. There is limited unsecured refinancing required in the next few years with £199m bonds outstanding to be repaid in December 2023 and £350m in June 2025. The lease liability has also reduced, with visibility for potential further improvements.

For further information, please contact:

Investor & Analyst presentation and Q&A:

A pre-recorded investor and analyst presentation will be available on the Marks and Spencer Group plc website from 7:30am on 9 November 2022.

Stuart Machin, Katie Bickerstaffe and Eoin Tonge will host a Q&A session at 9.45am on 9 November 2022:

Attendees must register in advance of the call. Registration link here

A recording will be available for 48 hours after the call using the following details:

Replay Global Access link here.

Fixed Income Investor Conference Call:

This will be hosted by Eoin Tonge, Chief Finance Officer, at 2pm on 9 November 2022:

Attendees must register in advance of the call. Registration link here

A recording will be available for 48 hours after the call using the following details:

Replay Global Access link here.

Group operating profit before adjusting items

M&S Bank and Services

Share of result in associates and joint ventures

Interest payable on lease liabilities

Profit before tax & adjusting items

Adjusted basic earnings per share

There are a number of non-GAAP measures and alternative profit measures ("APMs") discussed within this announcement, and a glossary and reconciliation to statutory measures is provided at the end of this report. Adjusted results are consistent with how business performance is measured internally and presented to aid comparability of performance. Refer to the adjusting items table below for further details.

Group sales were £5,563.6m. This was an increase of 8.8% versus 2021/22, driven by Food sales up 5.6%, Clothing & Home sales up 14.0% and International sales up 14.0%. Statutory revenue in the period was £5,538.2m, an increase of 8.5% versus 2021/22. The Group generated an adjusted profit before tax of £205.5m and a statutory profit before tax of £208.5m.

The Group benefited from Covid-related UK business rates relief of £47.5m in 2021/22, which was not repeated this year.

Statutory profit before tax includes total net credit for adjusting items of £3.0m.

For full details on adjusting items and the Group's related policy, see notes 1 and 3 to the financial information.

UK Food sales increased by 5.6%, driven by recovery of our franchise and hospitality businesses following the disruption of the pandemic, as well as higher average selling prices. Excluding franchise and hospitality, sales grew 1.9%.

Food ex franchise and hospitality

M&S Food reported sales do not benefit from a direct online grocery presence, with these sales instead reported through Ocado Retail.

Basket value inc VAT (£)

Total sales ex VAT £m1

1 Includes M&

Transactions increased year-on-year, driven by the recovery of our hospitality and franchise businesses. However, given the typically smaller basket size of transactions in these parts of our business, this has led to a reduction in overall basket value.

Franchise travel (rail/air/roadside)

Operating profit before adjusting items

1 'Sales' is equal to revenue within the Food business.

The Food business in total generated operating profit before adjusting items of £71.8m compared with £143.7m in 2021/22, with last year's result benefitting from £19.7m of UK business rates relief.

The table below sets out the drivers of the movement in Food operating profit margin before adjusting items.

Operating profit margin before adjusting items

The Group holds a 50% interest in Ocado Retail Ltd ("Ocado Retail"). The remaining 50% interest is held by Ocado Group plc ("Ocado Group"). Half Year Results are consistent with the quarterly results reported by Ocado Group on behalf of Ocado Retail for the quarterly periods ended 29 May 2022 and 28 August 2022.

Average orders per week (k)

Notes: Retail revenue comprises revenues from and Ocado Zoom. Average orders per week refers to results of

Revenue declined -4.2% over the 26 weeks to 28 August 2022. While active customer and order numbers have grown, basket sizes have continued to decline to pre-pandemic levels and as consumers seek value-for-money items in the inflationary environment. Revenue performance in the second quarter improved as we annualised the closure of our Erith CFC (customer fulfilment centre) after the fire in July 2021.

M&S 50% share of (loss)/profit after tax

Exceptional items are defined within the Ocado Group plc Annual Report and Accounts 2021.

Ocado Retail EBITDA before exceptional items was down, reflecting the smaller baskets, under-utilised CFC capacity and higher fulfilment and delivery costs. These offset a reduction in administration costs reflecting the release of management long-term incentive provisions given current trading.

Ocado Retail recognised £31.2m of net exceptional items before tax, predominantly relating to the insurance income for Andover and Erith CFCs (£26.4m) and amounts relating to a change in accounting treatment for one of our CFCs (£6.8m) offset by costs relating to the development and introduction of IT systems as we transition away from Ocado Group IT services, tools and support (£1.9m).

As a result of lower EBITDA and net exceptional costs, M&S Group share of Ocado Retail loss after tax was £(0.7)m.

Clothing & Home sales increased 14.0% with continued recovery of store sales back towards pre-Covid levels, and a robust performance by the online business.

Clothing & Home like-for-like sales

Clothing & Home stores sales

Clothing & Home online sales

Clothing & Home statutory revenue

To enable greater insight into these movements, we are providing further detail on the performance of each channel.

Average order value inc VAT pre returns (£)

Sales ex VAT £m

1 Traffic: the number of site visits to M& and the app.

2 Conversion: the number of orders as a % of the number of site visits.

Following strong performance last year, online sales remained solid with growth throughout the period despite a tough market backdrop. Average order value grew almost 7% reflecting higher average selling prices, largely driven by mix.

The online returns rate increased year-on-year due to the introduction of third-party brands which have a higher returns rate and changes in product mix and customer behaviour. However, compared to a pre-covid returns rate of 28.8%, the increase is driven predominantly by the increase in third-party brand sales.

Average basket value inc VAT pre returns (£)

Sales ex VAT £m

UK Clothing & Home store sales increased 18.8%, with all store formats seeing an improvement in sales year-on-year, also supported by higher average selling prices and mix. Average weekly footfall was up 18.9% following Covid restrictions lifting during Q1 last year, contributing to an increase in transactions.

Total Clothing & Home stores

The Clothing & Home business in total generated an operating profit before adjusting items of £171.4m compared with £156.2m in 2021/22, with last year's result benefitting from £27.8m of UK business rates relief.

Statutory revenue before adjusting items

Operating profit before adjusting items

The table below sets out the drivers of the movement in Clothing & Home operating profit before adjusting items for the total segment and by channel.

Operating profit margin before adjusting items

Central Clothing & Home costs

Overall across the Clothing & Home cost base, the impact of inflation and investments has been offset by increased leverage from the sales increase year-on-year, leading to favourable movements in costs as a percent to sales.

International sales increased 13.7% at constant currency ("CC"), driven by a strong recovery in India after the easing of Covid trading restrictions and solid growth in the Middle East. Our European business was impacted by challenging economic trading conditions, with the rationalisation of markets across France and Russia and a highly promotional online market, partly offset by strong store performance in Ireland.

Store sales increased 19% as we annualise on FY22 Q1 lockdowns across India and Ireland and

customers return to pre Covid buying habits. Online sales decreased 8.6% but remain in substantial growth on 19/20.

1 'Sales' is equal to revenue within the International business.

The strong Clothing & Home sales performance was driven by post-Covid recovery in India and Ireland, which was heavily impacted by lockdowns last year, and strong shipments to the Middle East, despite the exit from Russia.

Food sales declined due to the exits of the majority of our French franchise business and the chilled business in the Czech Republic, and the continuing impact of EU-related border issues on the island of Ireland. Excluding France, sales were level with 2021/22.

Operating profit before adjusting items was up 8.6% to £39.0m, showing strong recovery and resilience despite market exits and continued EU-border related headwinds.

The table below sets out the drivers of the movement in International operating profit margin before adjusting items.

Operating profit margin before adjusting items

M&S Bank and Services

M&S Bank and Services loss before adjusting items was up £0.1m to £(0.8)m. An increase in the bad debt provision due to the deterioration of the macro-economic environment was only partly offset by an increase in the demand for travel money and an increase in credit card sales.

Unwind of discount on Scottish Limited Partnership liability

Unwind of discount on provisions

Net interest payable on lease liabilities

Net finance costs before adjusting items

Adjusting items included in net finance costs

Net finance costs before adjusting items decreased £18.6m to £75.2m. This was driven by higher pension finance income due to the higher IAS 19 pension surplus in March 2022 compared with March 2021, as well as lower interest on our outstanding bonds as a result of the partial buyback of our 2023 and 2025 maturities in May 2022.

Group profit before tax and adjusting items

Group profit before tax and adjusting items was £205.5m, down 23.7% on 2021/22. The profit decrease was largely due to a decline in Food and Ocado Retail, offset by an increase in Clothing & Home and International operating profits.

As a reminder, Group profits in H1 2021/22 benefitted from £47.5m UK business rates relief.

Group profit before tax was £208.5m, up £21.2m on 2021/22. This includes a net credit for adjusting items of £3.0m (2021/22: charge of £82.1m).

The Group makes certain adjustments to statutory profit measures in order to derive alternative performance measures (APMs) that provide stakeholders with additional helpful information and to aid comparability of the performance of the business. For further detail on these charges/gains and the Group's policy for adjusting items, please see notes 1 and 3 to the financial information.

Strategic programmes - UK store estate

Strategic programmes - UK logistics

Strategic programmes - International store closures and impairments

Store impairments and other property charges

Remeasurement of contingent consideration including discount unwind

Amortisation and fair value adjustments arising as part of the investment in Ocado Retail Limited

M&S Bank charges

Directly attributable (gains)/expenses resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic

Adjustments to profit before tax

Adjusting items were a net credit in the period of £3.0m.

A charge of £26.3m has been recognised in relation to store closures identified as part of UK Store Estate rotation plans. The charge reflects a revised view of latest store exit routes, assumptions underlying estimated store closure costs, as well as charges relating to the impairment of buildings and fixtures and fittings, and depreciation as a result of shortening the useful economic life of stores.

A non-cash charge of £14.6m has been recognised within the organisational change strategic programme relating to the updating of assumptions regarding the sub-let of previously closed Merchant Square offices.

A non-cash charge of £36.3m has been recognised in relation to store impairments, driven by an increase in discount rate as a result of changes in the macro-economic environment.

A charge of £24.4m has been recognised relating to the acquisition of Gist to transform our supply chain; £18.2m of charges relate to the settlement of our pre-existing relationship with Gist Limited and there were £6.2m of other costs, predominantly £5.7m of transaction costs incurred.

A credit of £112.2m has been recognised in the period, representing the revaluation of the contingent consideration payable of £190.7m (£156.3m plus interest) for the investment in Ocado Retail Limited. Whilst we have reflected a change in the fair value of the final contingent consideration liability, we are discussing the matter with Ocado Group plc and a range of outcomes is possible.

A non-cash charge of £7.0m has been recognised with respect to the amortisation of intangible assets acquired on the purchase of our share in Ocado Retail partly offset by the related deferred tax credit.

Charges of £1.0m have been incurred relating to M&S Bank, primarily due to the insurance mis-selling provision.

In 2021/22, the Group announced the restructure of our franchise operations in France in response to increased EU border costs and recognised a charge for £10.3m of closure costs. Following finalisation of costs, £0.4m of the provision has been released, with no future costs currently expected.

Taxes on income in the interim period are accrued using the tax rate that would be applicable to expected total annual earnings, adjusted for actual tax on adjusting items.

The taxation charge in the income statement for the half year is based on the forecast full year tax rate on profit before adjusting items of 24.8% (last half year 12.4%; last full year 18.2%). This is higher than the UK statutory rate primarily due to the impact of the recapture of tax relief on SLP distributions, which have resumed in the year, and non-taxable Ocado losses.

The effective tax rate on adjusting items is 303.3% (last half year 7.2%; last full year 9.6%). This has been distorted by the £(112.2)m credit relating to the remeasurement of the Ocado contingent consideration. Excluding the Ocado contingent consideration remeasurement would reduce the ETR on adjusting items to 9.0%.

Overall, the effective tax rate on (loss)/profit before taxation was 20.0% (last half year 14.6%; last full year 21.1%).

Basic earnings per share was 8.5p (2021/22: 8.2p), due to the increase in profit year-on-year. The weighted average number of shares in issue during the period was 1,962.4m (2021/22: 1,957.6m).

Adjusted basic earnings per share was 7.8p (2021/22: 12.1p) due to lower adjusted profit year-on-year.

Depreciation and amortisation before adjusting items

Defined benefit scheme pension funding

Share of (profit)/loss from associate

Free cash flow after shareholder returns

Opening net debt excluding lease liabilities

Free cash flow after shareholder returns

Exchange and other non-cash movements excluding leases

Closing net debt excluding lease liabilities

Free cash flow after shareholder returns

New lease commitments and remeasurements

Exchange and other non-cash movements

The business had a free cash outflow of £(215.5)m, largely driven by lower EBITDA generation, a working capital outflow, increased capital expenditure and the acquisition of Gist. For further detail on working capital movements and capex and disposals refer to the sections below.

Defined benefit scheme pension funding of £36.9m reflects the agreed SLP interest distribution to the pension scheme.

Increased financial interest and tax payments of £32.8m were principally due to the resumption of UK corporation tax payments in the period. No UK corporation tax was paid in the comparative period due to utilisation of FY21 tax losses.

Acquisitions, investments and divestments were driven principally by the payment of £95.4m relating the acquisition of Gist, net of cash received.

Employee-related share transactions decreased due to a reduction in anticipated colleague incentive scheme charges.

Adjusting items cash outflow was £35.1m. This included £20.0m relating to the exit of the Russian franchise business, £11.9m relating to the UK store estate strategy, £1.8m for the Gist acquisition transaction fees and £1.0m relating to the M&S Bank insurance mis-selling provisions.

The business had a cash outflow from working capital of £148.8m which was higher than anticipated due to phasing. This partly related to a decrease in payment terms for our Clothing & Home suppliers as anticipated. In addition, stock increased over the period in our Clothing & Home, Food and International businesses driven by both cost price inflation and increased units as we build our holding in advance of the peak trading period across all our main businesses.

Alongside this, quicker supply chain lead times than last year in Clothing & Home resulted in early arrival of stock. However, overall in Clothing & Home, despite the higher stock value at cost, units are lower than pre-covid levels.

IT and M&

Capital expenditure before property acquisitions and disposals

Capex and disposals as per cash flow

Group capital expenditure before disposals increased £40.2m to £150.7m compared to 2021/22 due to increased investment in property asset replacement and technology.

UK store remodelling costs related principally to 7 Renewals during the half as well as upgrades to Clothing & Home space.

Spend on new UK stores primarily related to opening of 2 new Full Line stores (Stevenage and Colchester) together with 3 new Simply Food stores.

Supply chain expenditure reflects continued investment in our underlying base food infrastructure together with spend on upgrading vehicles and other technology.

IT and M& spend includes costs related to technology replacement and upgrades in stores, continued investment in website development and digital capabilities and further spend on upgrading supply chain infrastructure.

Property asset replacement has increased in the current year versus 2021/22, primarily driven the timing of spend last year, which was weighted towards the second half the of the year due to an in-depth review of the estate being carried out in H1 post the pandemic. This includes roof works and replacement of fridges, freezers, boilers, lifts and escalators.

Capital accruals were higher at the end of 2021/22 compared to 2020/21, as capital expenditure normalised towards pre-pandemic levels after a year in which we had constrained spend for cash conservation measures. This has resulted in a higher cash outflow for capital expenditure in the period.

Group net debt increased by £229.9m since the start of the year driven by the free cash outflow and a net increase in lease liabilities.

New lease commitments and remeasurements in the period were £141.6m, largely relating to 5 new UK leases, the consolidation of Gist Limited lease liabilities, lease additions in India, and UK property and logistics liability remeasurements. This was offset by £109.9m of capital lease repayments.

The composition of Group net debt is as follows:

Current financial assets and other

Net debt excluding lease liabilities

- Offices, warehouses and other

Our medium term notes include five bonds, with maturities out to 2037, and the associated accrued interest. During the period we bought back part of the 2023 and 2025 bonds, reducing our near-term liquidity draws. The full breakdown of our maturities is as follows:

Full-line store lease liabilities include £209.7m relating to stores identified as part of the UK store estate strategic programme. Of the remaining full-line stores lease liability, the liability-weighted average lease length is c.26 years, although the average lease term to break is shorter at c.20 years. However, these average lease lengths are skewed by five particularly long leases we hold, with the longest of these having 134 years remaining. These five leases, with a combined lease liability of c.£108m, are not deemed probable for closure in our UK store estate programme as they are currently trading well in locations we wish to remain in. Excluding these five leases, the average term to break of leases outside the programme is c.16 years.

Simply Food store lease liabilities include £24.9m relating to stores identified as part of the UK store estate strategic programme. Of the remaining lease liability, the average lease length to break is c.10 years.

Within offices, warehouses and other lease liabilities, £144.0m relates to the sublet lease on our Merchant Square offices. Average lease length of all other offices and warehouses to break is c.8 years.

International leases relate primarily to India (c.£105m) and Ireland (c.£65m). Average lease length to break in India is close to nil, as the majority of these leases are past the break point, and so we have the flexibility to exit these at any time on several months' notice. Average length to lease break or expiry in Ireland is c.8 years.

At 1 October 2022, the IAS 19 net retirement benefit surplus was £840.0m (2021/22: £734.2m). There has been a decrease of £198.2m from the start of the year largely driven by revisions of discount and inflation rates since the start of the period.

The most recent actuarial valuation of the Marks & Spencer UK Pension Scheme was carried out as at 31 March 2021 and showed a funding surplus of £687m. This is an improvement on the previous position at 31 March 2018 (statutory surplus of £652m), primarily due to lower assumed life expectancy. The Company and Trustees have confirmed, in line with the current funding arrangement, that no further contributions will be required to fund past service as a result of this valuation (other than those already contractually committed under the existing Marks and Spencer Scottish Limited Partnership arrangements).

The pension scheme is fully hedged for movements in gilt yields. However, on an IAS 19 basis there is an inherent basis risk to the scheme valuation, with the pension assets moving with underlying movements in rates and scheme liabilities exposed to movements in corporate bonds. In a normal period, this always results in some dislocation between movements in the scheme assets and liabilities. However, the recent economic volatility, particularly in bond markets, led to a larger dislocation. Nevertheless, there has been no material worsening of the scheme's overall funding position.

Subsequent to the end of the period, the Company agreed to provide the scheme with a £250m short term liquidity facility to meet excess collateral calls, as a result of the market volatility. The facility has not been used and remains undrawn and expires on 19 January 2023.

At 1 October 2022, the Group held cash balances of £772.7m (Full year 2021/22: £1,197.9m). In the period, as part of our approach to liability management, the Group bought back c.£150m of bonds due for maturity in 2023 and 2025.

The Group currently has an unused £850m revolving credit facility which is due to expire in June 2025. With the facility undrawn, the Group now has liquidity headroom of £1.6bn.

At the full-year results in May 2022, we stated that the board would consider the scale and timing of a resumption of dividend payments closer to the year end. Consistent with that announcement, we have not declared a dividend at these results.

Net assets were £3,013.3m at the period end, an increase of 3.3% since the start of the year largely due to free cash generation.

Statements made in this announcement that look forward in time or that express management's beliefs, expectations or estimates regarding future occurrences and prospects are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements reflect Marks & Spencer's current expectations concerning future events and actual results may differ materially from current expectations or historical results. Any forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, failure by Marks & Spencer to predict accurately customer preferences; decline in the demand for products offered by Marks & Spencer; competitive influences; changes in levels of store traffic or consumer spending habits; effectiveness of Marks & Spencer's brand awareness and marketing programmes; general economic conditions including, but not limited to, those related to the Covid-19 pandemic or a downturn in the retail or financial services industries; acts of war or terrorism worldwide; work stoppages, slowdowns or strikes; and changes in financial and equity markets. For further information regarding risks to Marks & Spencer's business, please consult the risk management section of the 2022 Annual Report (pages 45-54).

The forward-looking statements contained in this document speak only as of the date of this announcement, and Marks & Spencer does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

Marks & Spencer Group plc published this content on 09 November 2022 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 09 November 2022 07:10:03 UTC.