British high street giant Marks & Spencer has appointed a spin doctor to its board as it bids to improve its public image following two years of troubles.

The firm has created the position of director of communications position and named high-flying PR woman Flic Howard-Allen as the person to fill it.

Ms Howard-Allen's appointment, who joins from PR agency Hill & Knowlton where she was managing director of corporate and business communications, comes just days after the retailer reported its best sales figures for years.

"Flic's appointment to the board certainly shows a new focus on communications in M&S and denotes that we are increasingly focusing on UK Retail having divested all but one of our international operations," an M&S spokeswoman said on Friday.