Marks and Spencer increases its 2016 interim dividend by 6.3%

DividendMax Ltd.

Marks and Spencer increases its 2016 interim dividend by 6.3%

Improved Group half year results

Sales up 1.4% to £5.0bn

Underlying profit before tax up 6.1% to £284.0m

Underlying earnings per share up 4.9% to 14.1p

Update on key priorities:

Food business outperforms a highly competitive market 

Sales +3.3%; LFL +0.2%; differentiated offer continues to set us apart

32 new Simply Food stores opened, with performance ahead of expectations

General Merchandise gross margin ahead of expectations

Gross margin up 285bps, full year guidance raised to +200 to 250bps

Significant sourcing gains

General Merchandise sales slightly down

Sales -0.4%; LFL -1.2%; unseasonal conditions and decision to focus on full price sales

M& sales +34.2%; strong improvement across all metrics

Strong cash generation

Free cash flow before shareholder returns £256.5m, up £189.1m

Dividend up 6.3% to 6.8p

Marc Bolland, Chief Executive, said:

"We delivered good underlying profit growth in the first half and made strong progress against our key priorities. Our Food business again outperformed the market by over 3% points as our focus on quality and innovation continues to set us apart. In General Merchandise we decided to improve profitability by focusing on gross margin, delivering another significant increase, which in part resulted in slightly lower sales.  As a consequence of good performance and strong cash generation we have decided to increase our dividend."

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