Stuart Rose, chief executive of Marks and Spencer has finally hailed a 'recovery' at the retailer following a set of sparkling Christmas results.

Like-for-like food sales rose 3.6% in the 13 weeks to 30 December while total food sales rose 9.5%, the retailer said in a trading statement.

Its market share in food increased to 4.3%, building on a very strong Christmas in the previous year, it added.

Total like-for-like sales were up 5.6% while total UK sales rose 9.2%.

Rose, who had previously refused to use the 'R-word' until waiting to see what happened at Christmas, said: “Marks and Spencer had a good Christmas. We have now delivered growth on growth in all areas of our business, thus completing the first part of our recovery plan.”

“In the fourth quarter, we come up against significantly tougher comparatives, while facing a more challenging retail environment,” he added.