Marks & Spencer wowed investors with an impromptu report on rising sales and profits.

In the unscheduled trading update, M&S announced that better-than-expected trading means profit for the year is expected to be above its previous guidance.

The company said the first 19 weeks of the year have seen "continued market share growth in both the clothing and home and food businesses, and good progress on the programme to reshape M&S".

The company now expects profit to grow versus last year and its interim results to show a significant improvement against previous expectations.

Shares were up 9% in early trading.

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Analysts said it showed consumers are spending, and spending on holiday items. They also pointed to strategy change. 

M&S has been undergoing a longer-term reimagination of its estate amid a revamp of underperforming areas.

Pre-pandemic, in November 2019, the company reported a clothing and home sales dive of 7.8% over six months, like-for-like food sales increased by just 0.9%, and trading profits slid 17%.

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At that stage, it had shut down 17 stores as part of its turnaround plan which it earlier said will see the closure of 100 stores across the UK.

Recently in Scotland this has included the messy end to M&S' longstanding flagship relationship with East Kilbride town centre, which was a break-up that landed in court at one point, and was only finalised earlier this year. This followed the unpopular closure of the Sauchiehall Street branch in Glasgow last year.

More recently, the company was aiming to “improve brand perception and designs, reduce discounting, and improve the online offering, while taking a knife to costs and instilling a more entrepreneurial culture”, said Charlie Huggins, manager of the quality shares portfolio at Wealth Club.

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It was also reported the firm was boosted by shoppers preparing for holidays as well as its World Cup link-up with the England women’s team.

Mr Huggins also said: "Following on the heels from Next’s recent profit upgrade, M&S has also announced that it expects profit for the year to be above expectations. This is evidence that the UK consumer is still spending, despite the gloomy economic headlines.

“The results are also testament to the group’s progress against its strategy, launched last year. This aims to improve brand perception and designs, reduce discounting, and improve the online offering, while taking a knife to costs and instilling a more entrepreneurial culture.

“Today’s trading update suggests this plan is resonating with consumers with M&S continuing to increase its market share in clothing and home.”

The company warned there “remain considerable uncertainties” around the economic outlook.

“Nevertheless, there are more reasons for optimism now than there have been for some time," said Mr Huggins.