StockMarketWire.com - Marks and Spencer Group posted a 27% rise in annual profit driven by a reduction in one-off expenses including restructure costs, though its underlying profit fell.

Pre-tax profit for the year through March rose to £84.6m, up from £66.8m on-year.

Revenue, however, fell 3.0% to £10.38bn and underlying profit fell 9.9% to £523.2m.

The company cut its dividend by 26% to 13.9p per share.

The department store chain also announced details of its £601.3m share issue to help pay for its acquisition of a 50% stake in Ocado's online grocery business.

The rights issue would be conducted on a one-for-five basis at a price of 185p per share, representing a 32% discount to their closing price on Tuesday.

'We are deep into the first phase of our transformation programme and continue to make good progress restoring the basics and fixing many of the legacy issues we face,' chief executive Steve Rowe said.

'As I have said, at this stage we are judging ourselves as much by the pace of change as by the trading outcomes and change will accelerate in the year ahead.'

'Whilst there are green shoots, we have not been consistent in our delivery in a number of areas of the business.'

'M&S is changing faster than at any time in my career - substantial changes across the business to our processes, ranges and operations and this has constrained this year's performance, particularly in clothing & home.'

'However, we remain on track with our transformation and are now well on the road to making M&S special again.'

UK food revenue fell 0.6%, with like-for-like revenue down 2.3%, while clothing and home revenue fell 3.6%, impacted by store closures, with like-for-like revenue down 1.6%.







Story provided by StockMarketWire.com