Strong sales at Marks & Spencer on Jersey helped drive growth at CI Traders, the Channel Islands grocery retail business, which has revealed it is still in talks over a possible takeover.

CI Trader's turnover rose 1.7% year-on-year to £138.7m in the 21 weeks to 23 December. But like-for-like sales at the M&S franchise rose 7.3%, with food sales up 6.6%.

Le Riche, CI Trader's grocery arm, which operates the Checkers fascia, posted like-for-like sales up 6.7%

excluding fuel.

However, like-for-likes at Safeway Channel Islands, the brace of stores on Guernsey and Jersey bought from Morrisons in April 2005, fell 6.3%.

Potential for a buy-out of the group remains. The company said: "Discussions continue with the party who has expressed interest in acquiring all or part of the group. No offer has been received and discussions are at a preliminary stage."