Marks and Spencer must not allow itself to slip on food as it starts to turn a corner on clothing, say analysts. John Stevenson, of Charterhouse Securities, said: "A good food offer has saved Marks and Spencer over the last few years of constant decline. Now it is starting to turn a corner on clothing, but food has slipped a bit on last year." Marks and Spencer produced its first overall quarterly sales increase for three years, up 2.8%, this quarter. But sales of food for the 12 weeks to September 29 were up 4.9% (3.4% like-for-like) compared to 5.4% for the same period last year. Another analyst said: "Overall the results are unstartling, but a marked improvement, with things starting to come together. There is still a lot to do on clothing, and M&S needs to maintain its performance on food. However, It could be that food only appears to be down this year as customers were panic buying due to the fuel crisis in the same period last year." M&S chairman Luc Vandevelde said: "We believe our customers will appreciate the continuing improvements we are making to our products as well as to the store environment." {{NEWS }}