Marks & Spencer accused of "not making any financial progress"
Marks & Spencer Executive Chairman Stuart Rose has been accused of not making any financial progress over the past five years, Credit Suisse analyst Tony Shiret was reported as saying in Retail Week. In a 108 page note, Shiret said M&S must change its strategy in a “fundamental way”, close its Simply Food stores and open a new chain to attract young customers if it is to thrive. He said the retailer’s customer base is far too old and has been ignoring younger shoppers: "Of greater concern has been the failure to address and reverse the company's drift towards a much older customer base … No business can have a long-term future with this type of demographic profile in our view." He also raised the prospect of the need for a change in management if profits continue to slide. "Even before the current rapid deterioration of profitability the company had made no financial progress outside of the GBP320 million (USD476.06 million) of largely supplier-funded cost savings initiated in 2004 and around GBP50 million (USD74.38) resulting from changes in accounting assumptions,” said Shiret. Retail Week reported that Credit Suisse expects M&S’ pre-tax profit to fall in the next three years and in 2011 it will come in at GBP325 million (USD483.50 million), down from GBP1 billion (USD1.48 billion) last year.
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