In its fourth-quarter trading update issued today (7 April), Marks & Spencer (M&S) has reported that food sales were up 4%, in contrast to its “unsatisfactory” clothing and home division.

It was the first quarter under the management of recently-appointed chief executive Steve Rowe, who said he was “very proud and privileged to be leading M&S”.

However, like for like (LFL) sales in its food division were flat (0.0% growth). In the statement, M&S said that its new store opening programme was performing “ahead of expectations”.

Overall, group sales for the quarter were up 1.9%, while sales in its clothing and home division were down 1.9% (LFL -2.7%), and international sales were up 3.8%.

Rowe said: “We had a mixed performance in the final quarter of the year. Our food business once again outperformed the market by c.3.5 percentage points. Although the sales decline in clothing and home was lower than last quarter, our performance remains unsatisfactory and there is still more we need to do.”

The retailer’s share price rose more than 3% this morning, after the better-than-forecast set of fourth-quarter results.

Last month, M&S started to offer pre-made mixes that you put in a mug and microwave, known as mug cakes.