Marks & Spencer and Next herald high-street recovery


LONDON - M&S posted an unexpected rise in profits yesterday, showing signs that high-street retailers are beginning to see signs of recovery.

It announced profits of £298.3m for the six months to 26 September, with general merchandise sales up 1.7% and food sales rising by 1.8%.

The results are significantly better than earlier in the year, when the retailer announced a 40% drop in full-year profits to £604.4m.

Meanwhile, Next said that its improved womenswear range helped it to boost sales last month. Sales in the quarter to 31 October increased by 3.1%.

The boost in confidence has also led retailers to consider expansion. Apple is planning to open a store in Covent Garden, while pub chain JD Wetherspoon intends to push forward its expansion strategy by opening 40 new premises in this financial year.



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