Marks & Spencer hailed a “very good” Christmas in food, claiming a record sales increase of 17% in the key Christmas week.

The retailer said that, in the third quarter for the 13 weeks to 27 December, sales outperformed the market, with an increase of 2.8%, while like-for-like sales for the business were up 0.1%.

Despite this, the business saw sales slump in general merchandise.

Marc Bolland, chief executive, said: “M&S had a very good Christmas in food. We delivered record Christmas sales, strongly outperforming the market. We had a difficult quarter in general merchandise, dominated by unseasonal conditions and an unsatisfactory performance in our e-commerce distribution centre. We maintained our focus on general merchandise gross margin, with guidance unchanged.”

M&S launched nearly 750 new products for the quarter, in an attempt to give customers more choice. It said there had been record results in party food, desserts and deli items.