Hopes of a positive Christmas trading period helped shares in Marks & Spencer build on recent momentum to pass a new milestone.
Shares traded above the £5 mark for the first time since 1998, closing up 5.75p at 504.25p - a level unthinkable a year ago when the stock languished at 341p in the early days of chief executive Stuart Rose's turnaround strategy.
It came as shoppers' appetite for a bargain appeared undimmed, with stores across the country reporting brisk trade and thousands deluging the sales.
Figures released by Solihull-based retail analysts FootFall showed an increase of eight per cent for the first two days of the sales compared to last year's trading.
Natasha Burton, marketing manager at FootFall, said: "After the lacklustre Christmas build-up, this shows that prudence is definitely the watchword.
"After the final months of 2005, which saw a reluctance to spend on credit and rising household bills, it seems the sales are what shoppers have been waiting for." ..SUPL: