Sales of food at Marks & Spencer led a rise in second quarter trading at the company, with like-for-like sales up 1.3%, the first positive move in two years. Stuart Rose, the group’s chief executive said: "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." The results, which beat market expectations, saw food sales rise by 6.3% on the quarter. The group said: "Food continues to make progress and has delivered another quarter of like-for-like growth, driven by product innovation and availability."

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