Justin King has said he has no intention of quitting Sainsbury’s, quashing persistent speculation that he is being lined up as the next chief executive of Marks & Spencer.

Speaking as Sainsbury’s revealed an 11.3 per cent rise in underlying pre-tax profits, the grocer’s chief executive said there remained a massive job to do there.

“I’m really proud of the part I’ve played here at Sainsbury’s over the past five years, but the most exciting part lies ahead and I want to be playing my part” King said. “The next five years will be incredibly exciting and I can’t see myself anywhere other than heading that growth story.”

King said the board had not started discussion succession plans as “You don’t start working on the succession to the chief executive until it’s close and it’s not close.”