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    Marks & Spencer Sees Profits Soar, Looks to Add Food Shops

    LONDON - UK retailer Marks & Spencer has continued its turnaround with a 30 percent rise in profits and will now concentrate on organic growth, including the launch of up to 20 more specialist food shops.

    LONDON - UK retailer Marks & Spencer has continued its turnaround with a 30 percent rise in profits, The Financial Times reports. The company said it will now concentrate on organic growth, including the launch of up to 20 more specialist food shops.

    Pre-tax profits for the 12 months to March 2002 were 646.7 million pounds ($941.6 million), up from 494.8 million pounds the year before. Sales also rose by 3.8 percent to 7.62 billion pounds. The company has regained its traditional popularity lately from sales of its new clothing ranges, according to The Financial Times.

    "We have made good progress and believe that we have turned the corner," said chairman and chief executive Luc Vandevelde. "However, I recognize that our performance was helped by the buoyant High Street trading conditions and now our task is to secure the recovery and build for our future."

    He also said the company - which has sold off its European business and still has the American Kings Super Markets up for sale, among other restructuring initiatives - would not look to buy any other company.

    In addition to the food shops, the company is planning two large "Home Stores."

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