Mark and Spencer has announced a 4.5% increase in first quarter food sales and a 0.1% dip in like for likes, with new Simply Food stores performing “ahead of expectations”.

Total UK revenue increased by 2.6% while like-for-like sales fell by 0.5% in the 13 weeks ending 1 July 2017.

M&S chief executive Steve Rowe said: “Trading in the first quarter was in line with our expectations and we are on track with delivery of the plan we announced last year.

“In our Food business, we delivered strong growth from new Simply Food openings, and are prioritising better ranging and stronger promotions.”

In May the group said it planned to open 250 new Simply Food stores by 2019/20.