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M&S serves up timely profits

British retailer Marks & Spencer posted its best non-food sales performance for nearly four years yesterday as it started to put its online distribution problems behind it.

The firm said sales at its general merchandise arm rose by 0.7pc in the 13 weeks to March 28, its fiscal fourth quarter. The outcome was the first time in 15 quarters M&S has not posted a fall in non-food like-for-like sales, a trend that had put major pressure on CEO Marc Bolland, who joined in 2010.