UK retailer Marks & Spencer has seen first-half profits rise over 9% amid flat food sales over the last six months.

The company posted adjusted operating profit of GBP488m (US$1bn) for the six months to 29 September, a rise of 9.1% on the year.

Turnover was up 6.5% to GBP4.2bn with like-for-like sales in the UK inching up 1.6%. Food sales rose 0.5%, below analysts' forecasts.

Chief executive Stuart Rose said: "We had a good first half despite a tough market impacted by unseasonable trading conditions, and at a time when many of our stores were undergoing major refurbishment."

He added: "While the short term economic outlook remains uncertain, the actions we have taken to reposition and revitalise M&S over the last three years put us in a good position to continue to outperform and give us confidence in the long term growth prospects of the business."

M&S increased its trading space by almost 4% during the first half of the year, including adding 62 Simply Food stores to its convenience store network.