Two of Scotland’s top entrepreneurs have welcomed positive signs from the High Street as major retailers announce bigger than anticipated profits.

Marks and Spencer, has announced that its pre-tax profits have soared to just over £360 million, which is far beyond many economic analysts’ expectations.

The 139-year-old retailer has also confirmed it will pay almost £20m to its shareholders in January, its first dividend since 2019.

Lord Willie Haughey said: “It’s great to see that Marks and Spencer is on the way back. So well done to the company’s Chair Archie Norman and to its Chief Executive Stuart Machin – two good pals of mine – who are doing a great job there. Yes, Marks and Spencer are back . . . so let’s get the High Street buzzing again!”

Also welcoming the profits announcement, Sir Tom Hunter, added: “There is also some other good news from the High Street with Primark profits up 25%.”

Primark’s parent company, AB Foods which also runs grocery, ingredients and agriculture operations, said profits rose by a quarter to £1.34 billion over the year to September 16, compared with a year earlier.

“Well, I mean how do they do it with these prices?” asked Sir Tom. “They’re actually saying Barbie has been a big part of their profits this year.”

In fact, Primark’s Barbie men’s T-shirt was the top searched item on its website over the summer, as the Barbie movie became a major hit in cinemas.

“The other major player in the High Street and in retail parks that is doing well is B&M Stores. Its first half profits are up to £222 million and it has taken 51 shops off of the unsuccessful Wilko.”

The B&M supermarket chain has also revealed it expects to open 125 new stores in the UK over the next three years.

“All of this reflects what we have said many times before,” said Sir Tom. “There are businesses out there taking care of their customers and making money.

“So when B&M  flourishes, Wilko goes down the toilet . . . and you have to put that kind of outcome firmly at the feet of management.”