Christmas boost for M&S and Tesco
Marks & Spencer and Tesco have joined the list of large retailers toasting a better-than-expected Christmas.
Tesco, which has approximately 50 stores in Northern Ireland, reported a 0.7% increase in UK like-for-like sales during the six weeks leading up to January 7.
M&S, meanwhile, which has 18 stores across the province, announced a return to sales growth in its embattled clothing arm for the first time in nearly two years.
Like-for-like sales in its clothing and home division rose 2.3% in the 13 weeks to December 31. Performance was boosted by five extra trading days and came against an exceptionally poor performance last year.
Mark Larsson, investment analyst at Northern Ireland wealth management firm Johnston Campbell, warned that the positive Christmas results could be the last piece of good news for the sector this year.
He said: "Disposal income is expected to fall as inflation starts to feed though in food and energy prices. Retailers' input costs have started to rise. It will be interesting to see how much they will pass onto consumers or (if they) take a hit on profit margins."