Marks and Spencer, the UK retailer, today (11 January) posted a 1.8% rise in food sales over Christmas, driven by new products and “more impactful” promotions.

For the 13 weeks to 1 January, M&S’s fiscal third quarter, the retailer booked a 1.8% rise in like-for-like food sales. M&S said its total food sales had risen 3.5%.

The retailer said it was “delighted” with its level of innovation in food during the quarter, when the company launched 600 products. M&S also pointed to “bigger, more impactful promotions” during the period and revealed that, on 23 December, it generated record one-day food sales of GBP50m.

“Marks & Spencer traded well through the important Christmas period despite the severe weather as customers continued to return to M&S quality,” chief executive Marc Bolland said.

The retailer’s total UK sales – across food and clothing – rose 4%. Its group sales, including from overseas, were also up 4%.

Looking ahead, M&S echoed UK food retailer Morrisons and adopted a cautious tone when looking at the year ahead. M&S said trading conditions would become “more challenging” as VAT and public-spending cuts hit consumer spending.