Marc Bolland
Marc Bolland is the chief executive of Marks & Spencer and pocketed over £2m in pay for 2013 (Reuters) Reuters

Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland received near-unanimous shareholder backing, to return as the group's director, despite overseeing two consecutive years of falling profits and grabbing a bumper remuneration package.

Bolland, who has been under pressure because of the company's recent performance, was sent back onto the M&S board by 95.5% of investors who voted at the Annual General Meeting in London.

The M&S boss pocketed a £2.14m (€2.47m, $3.18m) pay packet in 2013, including a bonus of £829,000, despite pre-tax profit for the year ended 30 March dropping to £564m from £658m.

The firm's general merchandise arm has struggled in the difficult trading environment, reporting an eighth consecutive quarterly fall in like-for-like sales during the first quarter. Sales of non-food products, including clothing, footwear and homewares, fell 1.6% in the 13 weeks to 29 June 2013.

Group sales rose 3.3% in the first quarter, while international sales lifted 8.7% during the period. Total UK sales for the bounced 2.7% and food sales rose 4.7%.

"Our general merchandise business showed some improvement this quarter and the food business delivered another excellent performance, continuing the strong underlying trend," said Bolland in the first quarter statement.

"Our international business also performed well during the quarter and M& sales were very strong. We continue to make good progress with our plans to transform M&S into an international, multi-channel retailer."

M& reported a 30% jump in online sales. The company said it is on track to roll out a new web platform in the spring of 2014.