Marks & Spencer has revealed higher than expected profits due to soaring food sales for the past half year and shareholders will receive a dividend.
Chief executive Stuart Machin said customers are responding well to Christmas products and food orders for the festive season are up by 25% compared to the same period last year.
In the six months to 30 September the retailer posted a pre-tax profit of £325.6 million, and analysts predict a profit of around £276 million.
Revenues increased by 10.8% to £6.13 billion which was boosted by a 14.7% increase in food sales.
Machin said, “Our strategy to reshape M&S for growth has delivered strong results in the first half.
“We have maintained our relentless focus on trusted value, giving our customers exceptional quality product at the best possible price.
“There will be challenges and headwinds in the year ahead, and progress won’t be linear, but we are ambitious for future growth and are driving what is in our control.”
Peel Hunt equity analyst Jonathan Pritchard said, “Marks & Spencer is making strong steps towards a full recovery.
“The food offer is as good as it has ever been, and the clothing and home ranges are improving but not quite there yet.
“The cost saving programme has underpinned the strong profit growth and International could be interesting in time.”