Marks and Spencer has reported a 5.8% increase in first-quarter like-for-like food sales.

In a trading statement ahead of its annual general meeting later today, the retailer also said that in the 13 weeks to 1 July, UK food sales were up 9.2%.

It added that the inclusion of Easter in the quarter had boosted food sales by around 0.8%.

It also revealed a 10.4% increase in UK sales, or by 8.2% on a like-for-like basis.

Stuart Rose, chief executive of M&S, said: “This is an encouraging performance, albeit against soft comparatives last year.”

He added: “Despite the challenging trading environment, we are confident that we can continue to drive the business profitably.”

M&S also confirmed that Paul Myners would step down as chairman at the agm. He will be succeeded by Lord Burns.