Marks & Spencer has posted a total sales rise of 3.2% in its first quarter, when it reported market share gains in fashion and food.

The high street bellwether recorded a UK like-for-like sales advance of 1.7% - general merchandise like-for-likes were flat and food was up 3.3% - and said it had improved its clothing market share by 20 basis points to 11.7% and food by 10 points to 3.8%

Chief executive Marc Bolland said: “Marks & Spencer continued to grow market share by offering our customers more choice, great value for money and leading innovation.

“Against the uncertain economic backdrop, we are focused on trading through the short term, while building for the long term growth of the business.” 

Total UK sales, excluding VAT, were up 2.7% in the quarter to July 2, which included the first few days of the Sale. General merchandise inched ahead by 0.3% and food leaped 5%.

Direct sales rose 13% in the quarter, and international revenues by 7.8%.

On the trading outlook the retailer said: “We expect trading conditions to remain challenging due to pressure on consumers’ disposable incomes and higher commodity prices. As a result we remain cautious about the outlook. Our focus will be on remaining competitive, and offering our customers great value and quality at a time when they are managing their budgets carefully.