M&S sales declines show pain of latest reinvention attempt

M&S sales declines show pain of latest reinvention attempt
FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians walk past an M&S shop in northwest London, Britain, July 8, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/File photo -
Suzanne Plunkett(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Marks & Spencer reported a 2 percent rise in first-half profit but underlying sales declined in both clothing and food, hurt by disruption from its latest attempt at a turnaround after over a decade of failed reinventions.

M&S, one of the best known names in British retail, said on Wednesday it made a pretax profit before one off items of 223.5 million pounds ($293.2 million) in the six months to Sept. 29 - ahead of analysts' average forecast of 203 million pounds and 219.1 million pounds made in the same period last year.

Clothing & home like-for-like sales fell 1.1 percent, while food sales down 2.9 percent on the same basis. Profit was up due to the phasing of its cost programme.

M&S, which is targeting sustainable, profitable growth in three to five years, said trading conditions "remain challenging".

($1 = 0.7622 pounds)

(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)

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