New Marks & Spencer food boss John Dixon has visibly improved the retailer’s food offer just five weeks into the job, in-store changes suggest.

Better availability, more effective point-of-sale materials and bolstered brand credentials were all evident on visits made to M&S shops by Blue Oar analyst Greg Lawless.

Lawless highlighted initiatives such as a “Wise Buy” campaign spotlighting low prices on particular lines, more “twofer” and half-price deals and better communication of brand credentials as among the improvements made already.

He said: “Availability seems to have improved. We feel that the availability issues were more to do with the previous regime’s demand for between a 3 and 5 per cent price cut across the supply base. This led to issues from the likes of Northern Foods, Greencore and Uniq.”

Lawless was also encouraged by M&S’s branded food trial, although it is too early to draw firm conclusions. He said branded lines carried by M&S were priced within 1 per cent of Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, and were only 3 per cent more expensive than Tesco and Asda.