High street giant Marks & Spencer on Tuesday said it had "turned the corner" as its recovery continued with a 30.7 per cent jump in pre-tax profits to£646.7 million compared to £494.8m in the year-ago period.

Those figures follow a 10.6 per cent surge in April same-store sales amid a shopping boom and a huge restructuring drive which has seen it exit all its loss-making and non-core activities in continental Europe and the US.

Group turnover from ongoing businesses climbed 3.8 per cent to £7.6 billion with the increase in the second half 6.9 per cent.

M&S said in a statement that buying margins will be improved in adult and children's clothing and there will be less markdowns but it warned UK retail operating costs are expected to jump five per cent.

Commenting on the results, Luc Vandevelde, chairman and chief executive, said: "We have made good progress and believe that we have turned the corner. However I recognise our performance was helped by the buoyant high street trading conditions and now our task is to secure the recovery and to build for our future.

"There is much to do and we are not complacent. Phase one may be complete, but the plan moves on as we set about growing the business and regaining our pre-eminent position in the UK market."

M&S also announced it plans to create 1,000 jobs through the opening of 20 small food stores and later this year will pilot a combined credit and loyalty card in Wales and the north east of England.