>> Food may be one of its traditional strong points, but the latest annual numbers at Marks and Spencer were hardly mouth-watering. A 10% drop in annual earnings, and in the last quarter, sliding sales in food and clothing. It is though, all part of the plan says the man brought in a year ago to turn around this iconic British retailer.
>> Last year we outlined a fairly comprehensive plan to lay strong foundations for the future of Marks and Spencer. And that meant that we had to take some difficult decisions. The profit before interest and tax, though, 614 million was down 10% and that's exactly in line with our plans.
That's a margin ahead of city expectations.>> Investors appear to agree, shares already up 20% in the last three months. Rose two-and-a-half percent to a 12 month high as they looked past the bad news. But the stores challenges are more than just one layer deep. Along with restructuring, costs of Brexit weaken pound mean, it's paying much higher prices for the 80% of supplies it sources outside the EU.
A problem its shoppers face too.>> Really, it's about the economy and the customer is very fragile at the moment in terms about how they feel about their future economic wealth.>> A later Easter and other candor effects also dented the results. But M&S maintained its dividend, saying, it's pleased with its progress and what its boss calls it, self help story.