Marks & Spencer Posts Second Straight Fall in Annual Profit

Christopher Furlong | Getty Images News | Getty Images

British retailer Marks & Spencer posted its lowest annual profit since 2009 on Tuesday as a struggling general merchandise division dragged on growth in food sales.

The 129-year-old firm, which serves 21 million shoppers a week from over 700 U.K. stores, said it made a profit before tax and one-off items of 665.2 million pounds ($1.0 billion) in the year to March 30, a second straight fall.

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The outcome compares with analyst forecasts of 640-670 million pounds, with a consensus of 658 million pounds, according to a poll published on the company's website, and is a decline on the 687.2 million pounds made in 2011-12.

M&S, whose shares have risen 30 percent over the past year after periodic bouts of bid speculation, paid a maintained dividend of 17 pence.

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