Iconic high street giant Marks & Spencer has slumped to a loss for the first time in its near century as a public company.
The firm swung to a pre-tax loss of £87.6 million in its half year results for the 26 weeks to September 26 from a £158.8m profit for the same period last year.
Group revenue fell by 15.8% to £40.09 billion.
The firm has high street stores in Dundee and Perth, as well as Simply Food outlets in Dundee, Broughty Ferry, St Andrews and Glenrothes.
The company’s clothing and home arm was heavily impacted by the Covid-19 lockdown, with a fall in revenue of 40.8%.
Online clothing and home sales increased by 34.3%.
However, the company said it had performed better than expected and had outperformed its Covid-19 planning scenario by 22.8%.
Food sales performed strongly, achieving 2.7% like-for-like sales despite “headwinds” including high dependence on food-to-go and a presence in full line stores in impacted shopping centre locations.
The change in purchasing habits as shoppers made larger food purchases helped offset the adverse impact on other categories.
M&S also underlined its commitment to the Never the Same Again transformation programme, which it said has “impacted the shape and ways of working” across the group, “with a focus on delivering a faster more streamlined digital multichannel business.”
The programme has seen substantial restructuring and store cost reduction with flexible working and shifting focus to front of house service.
It also included a move in August to cut 7,000 jobs.
The firm also pointed to the success of its joint venture with Ocado Retail, which began delivering M&S food earlier this year.
Ocado Retail delivered 47.9% year-on-year revenue growth, in an “exceptional period” that had been boosted by Covid-19 related increases in demand for online shopping.
Chief executive Steve Rowe said: “In a year when it has become impossible to forecast with any degree of accuracy, our performance has been much more robust than at first seemed possible.
“This reflects the resilience of our business and the incredible efforts of my M&S colleagues who have been quite simply outstanding.
“But out of adversity comes opportunity and, through our Never the Same Again programme, we have brought forward three years change in one to become a leaner, faster and more digital business.
“From launching M&S Food online with Ocado to establishing an integrated online business division ‘MS2’ to step-change growth, we are taking the right actions to come through the crisis stronger and set up to win in the new world.”