M&S reported a 6.1 percent rise in first-half underlying pretax profit to 284 million pounds ($437.96 million), ahead of analysts' average forecast of 270 million pounds.
While UK profits rose 14.6 percent, overall profit growth was dragged back by a weak international performance, where profit fell 52 percent.
Second quarter like-for-like sales in M&S's food business rose 0.2 percent, a 24th straight quarterly increase.
M&S food is outperforming Britain's grocery industry, benefiting from product innovation and a focus on providing for special occasions.
M&S shares have risen 29 percent over the last year on hopes that the billions of pounds spent by Bolland on the redesign of products, stores, supply chain logistics and the website, to address decades of under investment, will pay off.
But his critics argue that increasing gross margins alone is not a source of long-term growth.
M&S's results are the first since Steve Rowe switched from running the food business to heading the general merchandise arm.
Richard Hunter, Head of Equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said the improving margins, profits and dividend were all welcome.
"The largest challenge remains in the form of sales within General Merchandise, where M&S is focusing on margin improvements by eschewing discounts and concentrating on full price sales. This buys the company some time to rediscover the magic potion which may tempt younger shoppers into its stores."
Prior to Wednesday's update analysts were, on average, forecasting underlying pretax profit for the full 2015-16 year of 703 million pounds, up from 661 million pounds in 2014-15.
M&S raised its interim dividend by 6.3 percent to 6.8 pence.
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