Marks and Spencer has reported a 3.6% increase in full-year like-for-like food sales to April 1.

The retailer revealed that food had a “very successful” year, with sales increasing 7%, driven by a renewed focus on quality and innovation.

It added that its Simply Food stores had also performed strongly.

M&S also said that if its current trial of nine Simply Food stores in BP Connect service stations was successful, there would be significant opportunity for expansion in the coming years.

Group pre-tax profit increased 47.6% to £745.7m, on sales up 4.1% to £7,797.7m.

Stuart Rose, chief executive of M&S, said: “M&S is beginning to regain its confidence, but we still have much to do to ensure that we sustain growth in the long term.”

He added: “We need to drive sales, grow market share, improve the performance from our existing stores and continue to buy better.”