Marks & Spencer boss Marc Bolland has denied there are problems with its new online platform and pledged web growth in time for peak trading.

M&S reported that sales through its website slid by 8.1% in the first quarter following its move off Amazon’s platform and the introduction of more editorial features designed to inspire shoppers.

The retailer flagged at the time of its full-year results in May that it would take four-to-six months for to “settle in” and there would be an impact on first-quarter trading. But M&S has faced criticism that the launch was “botched”.

Bolland rejected that suggestion. He said: “You call it issues. It’s not an issue.

“The platform, you don’t build for a quarterly result. It’s been a resilient build-up.”

He said shoppers have appreciated the new editorial approach, which is increasingly being reflected in sales as tweaks are made.

“Recently what we’ve seen is that Editor’s Picks [selected looks featured on the site] are up 60%,” said Bolland.

“It’s a journey, not something customers recognise in a morning.”

M&S finance chief Alan Stewart likened the online changes to those that happen in stores every day. He argued: “It’s a bit like going into a supermarket for a pint of milk and they’ve moved it, but customers will get used to it.”

Bolland said the retailer’s expectation was for 6 million online customers over the course of the year and that there had already been 3.2 million. He anticipated online to return to growth “ahead of peak”.

Marks & Spencer UK like-for-likes edged up 0.3% in the first quarter. Within that like-for-likes in general merchandise dropped 1.5% while rising 1.7% in food.

Shore Capital analyst Clive Black was disappointed by M&S’s update. He said: “The dotcom fiasco, and that is what it looks like, noting as we do many more complaints over praises for the current proposition, leaves a bitter taste for investors.”