RETAILER Marks & Spencer today banked its biggest profits haul for nine years.
The company, which has sites at New Street and the Piazza in Huddersfield, lifted pre-tax profits by 32.2% to £405.1m in the six months to September 30.
Group sales were up by 11% to £3.93bn - driven by a high- profile advertising campaign featuring 1960s style icon Twiggy.
The first-half profits figure was the highest since 1997 when the company banked £452m. Full-year profits in that year topped £1bn. Some analysts are forecasting a similar result this time.
Chief executive Stuart Rose said: "We had a good first half. We have delivered better product, better service and better store environment. We gained in market share in all areas in which we trade."
Mr Rose said that trading growth in the five weeks since September 30 was "in line with the first-half run rate" despite tougher comparatives with the same period last year.
And he added: "We believe we are well positioned for the all-important Christmas period."