Food sales at Marks & Spencer grew by 2.6% on a like-for-like basis over the past year, which the retailer claimed was due to customers demanding quality despite their economic woes.

Total sales for its food arm were up 4.1%, helped by the launch of 1,900 new lines over the year to 2 April. M&S said its market share had grown to 3.9% in the past year – and announced plans to revamp food displas in-store over the year ahead.

“We will be introducing new space, range and display systems that will deliver a step-change in availability and further improve our customer service,” the retailer said.

Underlying profits at the high street giant grew almost 13% to £714m, while total sales were up 4.2% to £9.7bn.

“M&S had a good year, with sales and profits ahead of last year,” said chief executive Marc Bolland.

“We traded well in a challenging environment, growing our market share in both clothing and food. We did this by offering customers great quality and value, and more choice through innovation.”

He added: “In November we set out our plan to grow M&S into a truly international, multi-channel retailer. We have made good early progress and are focused on both trading the business in the short term and on delivering against our long-term targets.”

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