Marks & Spencer has recorded a 0.3% rise in like-for-like sales in its first quarter driven by food, while general merchandise made some progress.

In the 13 weeks to June 29, Marks & Spencer recorded a 1.8% increase in its food like-for-likes, while the retailer said there has been some progress in general merchandise despite like-for-likes dropping 1.6%.

Group sales jumped 3.3%, while UK sales rose 2.7% as food sales were up 4.5% and general merchandise increased 0.5%.

M&S chief executive Marc Bolland said: “Our general merchandise business showed some improvement this quarter and the food business delivered another excellent performance, continuing the strong underlying trend.

“We continue to make good progress with our plans to transform M&S into an international, multichannel retailer.”

The overseas businesss traded better than the UK with sales up 8.7% as it traded particularly well across India, China and the Middle East, while European trading started to improve.

And M&S’s online sales surged 29.9% in the “very strong” quarter, because of improvements to the service such as next-day delivery. The retailer said it was on track to launch its new platform in spring 2014.

The retailer said within its general merchandise business, it finished the quarter in a clean stock position due to tight management, as it awaits the launch of its crucial autumn/winter collection in stores at the end of the month.