Marks & Spencer has reported first-quarter like-for-like food sales growth of 0.7%.

The figure was against growth of 5.8% the year before and 3% the previous quarter, and fell below analysts' expectations, who had been hoping for growth of nearer 1.5%.

UK food sales increased 8.5% during the quarter and market share had continued to grow, M&S said.

It opened 33 further Simply Food stores during the quarter, of which 21 were on BP forecourts.

The retailer also reported a 2% increase in UK like-for-like sales, with UK sales up 6.4%. Group sales rose 7%.

“Rising interest rates, general uncertainty over consumer spending and extreme weather conditions combined to make market conditions particularly volatile over the quarter,” said CEO Stuart Rose.

“We believe that the short term trading environment will remain very challenging, but our plans are unchanged. We are confident that our focus on product, service and environment and our investment in the brand will ensure we continue to make progress.”