M&S lowers marketing spend as profit slumps

Marks and Spencer says it plans to lower marketing costs this year as the retailer reports profits crashed 37.5% in the year to March.

The retailer, celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, says marketing and related costs fell 8.6% to £127m in the year to March 28 and “are planned to be lower again 2009/10.”

The news comes as the Stuart Rose-fronted company reports pre-tax profit fell to £706.2m, down from £1.21bn a year earlier.

Like for like sales fell 5.9% in the year with a 5% fall in food sales and a 6.9% in non-food sales. M&S, which yesterday launched a RKCR/Y&R created birthday campaign under the retailer’s new brand positioning “Quality Worth Every Penny”, is seen by analysts as a bellwether for the fortunes of the high street but has been struggling as customers trade down to lower priced rivals.

However, the retailer’s chairman Stuart Rose says its “core values” of “quality, value, service, innovation and trust are as important as ever.

“They are all about doing the right thing which is, quite simply, how we do business,” he says.

The brand was recently agreed to remove a £2 extra charge for larger size bras following a media campaign via a newspaper campaign bearing the headline “we boobed”.

M&S launches campaign to celebrate 125th birthday

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