M&S set for first loss in its history as a public company

Marks & Spencer expected to crash to first loss in its history as a public company with half-year results

Marks & Spencer is expected to crash to the first loss in its history as a public company on Wednesday, when it reports its half-year results. 

Analysts predict the 136-yearold retailer, which became a listed company in 1926, has swung from a £176m profit to a £59m loss during the six months to September 26. 

Researchers at JPMorgan predict it could have dived as much as £95m into the red. 

The High Street stalwart and its rivals have been battered by the coronavirus crisis in 2020, with the pandemic forcing it to close stores and make staff redundant. 

It is expected to post a brutal 41 per cent drop in like-for-like sales of clothing and home products this week, with even like-for-like sales of food only up 0.3 per cent over the period. The half-year loss underlines the devastating impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the retail industry. 

M&S had even managed to make a profit during the Second World War, when 100 of its shops were bombed and 16 destroyed entirely. 

In recent years, the firm has been slower than rivals to embrace online shopping and only this year launched a tie-up with Ocado for deliveries. 

Shares closed at 89.14p on Friday – just above the all-time low of 85p they hit in May.