High street retailer Marks & Spencer posted rising fourth-quarter sales on Thursday, boosted by strong performances for clothing and food, and also at its international division. Sales climbed 1.9 percent in the 13 weeks to March 29, compared with the same period of the group's previous financial year, M&S said in a trading update. In home market Britain, sales grew 1.5 percent, but fell by 0.2 percent on a like-for-like basis that strips out the impact of new floor space. M&S added that clothing sales rallied 1.3 percent in the reporting period, aided by "clear signs" of a recovery in womenswear. Food sales jumped 2.5 percent, despite the later timing of the Easter holiday, while general merchandise added 0.2 percent. Sales at stores outside Britain jumped 4.7 percent, aided by strength in India, China and in the Gulf. "We delivered another quarter of improvement in general merchandise," said chief executive Marc Bolland. He added: "We are encouraged by womenswear, which is showing clear signs of improvement and performed ahead of clothing. "Our food business had another great quarter, especially considering the later timing of Easter. This marks our 18th consecutive quarter of growth." Investors welcomed the news, sending M&S shares up 2.0 percent at 465.1 pence in early morning deals on the FTSE 100 index, which was 0.36 percent higher at 6,660.60 points. Looking ahead, the group expressed caution, despite the upbeat numbers. "Despite some improvement in consumer confidence, we remain cautious about the outlook," added the firm. "Our focus is on continuing to transform Marks & Spencer into an international, multi-channel retailer." The retail group will publish its full-year results on May 20.