British retailer Marks & Spencer posted a fall in profits for the first time in three years, despite showing a boost in full year sales.

The UK's largest clothing retailer confirmed a 1.2 percent fall in full-year underlying profit, but also said it made a profit before tax and one-off items of £705.9m in the year that ended on March 31 this year.

Despite the rise in profit before tax, the final number narrowly missed analyst expectations of £675-706m as the group missed fourth-quarter sales forecasts after running out of a top-selling women's clothing and footwear line.

However, M&S full-year sales rose 2 percent to £9.9bn and the group said it would still pay a maintained dividend of 17.0p. The group also said it would

"M&S performed well in a challenging economic environment ... holding market share. We also made good progress with our strategic plans," said Chief Executive Marc Bolland.

M&S shares were trading around 2 percent higher at 343.5p as of 0730 GMT, as the retailer confirmed that it would still meet year profit expectations having made further cost savings.