Recovering high-street giant Marks & Spencer has reaped its largest first-half profit jump for nine years.

First-half pre-tax profit leapt 32.2% to GBP405.1m (US$771.33m), on an 11% rise in sales to GBP3.93bn.

UK sales grew 10.5% to GBP3.65bn, the company said, while its international business enjoyed a 17.7% increase. Net debt stood at GBP1.75m, it added.

During the second quarter of the year, UK sales rose 10.5%, with same-store sales increasing 6.4%.

M&S enjoyed market growth in all product categories in the quarter, with total clothing market share up 90 basis points to 10.1%.

Women's wear has made "excellent progress," chief executive Stuart Rose said, adding: "Core product performed well and our fast fashion ranges give us more fashion authority. Colour palettes have been strong and on target. We continue to refine our branding and segmentation to ensure we offer clear and focused ranges.

"Per Una continues to make strong progress. We now have a complementary offer of women's wear, enabling us to target the widest range of customers of any general merchandise retailer."

Lingerie has also performed well with market share up from 24.1% to 25.6 while men's wear share rose from 8.3% to 9%, Rose said.

Children's wear made its first market share improvement for six years, up from 4.0% to 4.4%.

Rose said in an interview with Cantos it was "a good set of results in a difficult market."

He continued: "We have seen revenue growth, margin growth; we have seen market share growth in all the areas in which we trade."

Turning to the second quarter in particular, Rose said some of the company's rivals had found the market "quite tough" but maintained M&S' was "pretty robust" despite disruptions from 42 store modernisations.

"I think the formula we have got now - working on product, working on store portfolio and working on service seems to work for us.

"I think we have something in the order of 19m more visits than last year - a terrific number of people driven primarily by product; also by better ambience in our stores."

He admitted the firm's costs have been above plan in some areas such as staff intake and pay and spending on stores, but pointed out costs have been ploughed into "the sharp end" of the business.

This has gained fruition in customer feedback, which has shown shoppers like the fact there is always something new in stores, Rose claimed.

Rose added in a conference call: "We are well positioned to have a good Christmas.

"We are investing in property and making progress on broadening our business."

Rose cited e-commerce and international expansion as two areas holding growth potential for the business.

He said while a lot of progress has already been made and he was more confident in the business than when he took over as CEO two and a half years ago, he believes "the best is yet to come."

"We continue to listen to our customers and brand momentum continues to improve, supported by strong advertising," Rose added in a statement - backing it up with an announcement that singer Dame Shirley Bassey will feature in a new advertising campaign.

Internationally, expansion has been accelerated with a new office in Shanghai, while the company will open an office in Delhi in the second half.