Marks and Spencer has recorded a 6.3% increase in food sales in the second quarter to October 1.

In a trading update to the City, the retailer also revealed that its like-for-like food sales were up 2.7% compared with an increase of 0.7% last quarter.

Stuart Rose, chief executive of M&S, said: “Food continues to make progress and has delivered another quarter of like-for-like growth, driven by product innovation and availability.”

M&S also continued the upward trend in other areas, with UK retail sales up 3.3%. On a like-for-like basis sales were up 1.3% compared with a decrease of 5.4% last quarter.

General merchandise also showed a big improvement, with like-for-like sales down just 0.2% compared with a decrease of 11.2% last quarter.

M&S said that it expects to record half-year pre-tax profits at or around the upper end of market expectations but the outlook for full-year profits would depend on third quarter trading.

Rose added: “This is an encouraging performance, but there remains much to be done. The environment remains very difficult and we have the important Christmas trading period ahead.”