By  on July 9, 2013

LONDON — Marks & Spencer plc said group sales in the 13 weeks to June 29 climbed 3.6 percent in actual currency, and 3.3 percent on a constant currency basis.

Sales in the U.K. were up 2.7 percent, boosted by the British retailer's food division, which grew 4.5 percent during the period. General merchandise, which includes M&S's struggling clothing division, was up 0.5 percent, but down 1.6 percent on a like-for-like basis.

"Our general merchandise business showed some improvement this quarter, and the food business delivered another excellent performance, continuing the strong underlying trend," said Marc Bolland, the company's chief executive.

Bolland added that general merchandise was operating under "difficult trading conditions, and further intensification of promotional activity in the market."

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