What it says in the papers: business pages
Here are the main business stories from this morning's papers:
***A record increase in Irish online shopping fuelled a 6.6pc year-on-year jump in consumer spending last month, according to a new report.
Visa Europe’s latest consumer spending index indicates that e-commerce spend was up 16pc on December 2014, the biggest ever increase in the survey’s history.
Face-to-face expenditure also posted a year-on-year increase in December, Visa Europe said, but at a lower rate than last year. The results are likely to lead to more calls for Irish businesses to improve and increase their online presence.
***The pace of growth in the construction sector quickened in December, according to a new report.
Ulster Bank’s latest purchasing managers’ index for the sector indicates Irish building firms saw a spike in new orders, with the rate of job growth rising also.
The headline figure for the index was 58.6 – up from 55.5 in November. A figure over 50 indicates growth. Activity has now increased in each of the past 28 months, with the latest expansion the strongest since July.
***The Irish-based unit of international ecommerce marketplace Groupon recorded a profit for the first time here in 2014 when enjoying pre-tax profits of €10.26m.
New accounts just filed with the Companies Office show that US firm more than doubled the size of its Dublin workforce in 2014, going from 31 to 72.
The unit - which owns various intellectual property rights and provides them to Groupon affiliates around the world for a royalty fee - posted the pre-tax profits after sustaining pre-tax losses of €62m in 2013.
***The chairman of the Stormont committee investigating claims regarding the sale of Nama’s Northern Ireland loan portfolio has “firmly rejected” claims it is biased against businessman Frank Cushnahan.
Mr Cushnahan, a former member of Nama's Northern Ireland Advisory Committee, has "disengaged" from co-operating with the committee investigating the €1.6bn Project Eagle portfolio sale by Nama.
Daithi McKay, the chairman of the Assembly finance committee, has indicated that an effort may be made to compel Mr Cushnahan to give evidence.
***Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links is set for a multi million euro upgrade, just over a year since it was acquired out of receivership in mid-2014.
US real estate investment group Kennedy Wilson will spend more than €5m refurbishing the four-star hotel.
Works will include the refurbishment of 90 bedrooms, the creation of new meeting and conference facilities, a new spa and gym and a new entrance and car park.
***About €15.6bn worth of construction projects are in the pipeline for 2016, according to new statistics.
A report by Construction Information Services, a specialist provider of data in the construction sector, estimated that this estimate involves 633 projects that will either commence work or be finished this year.
This overall value is up from €11bn in 2015.
***The Ombudsman, who examines complaints about public bodies, has said that Irish Water was needlessly removed from his remit.
Peter Tyndall says that the rationale that the utility is a stand alone company is not valid as ombudsmen in other countries have the power to investigate water services even when they have a different ownership structure.
He claims that the Commission for Energy Regulation, which has regulatory control over Irish Water, cannot properly investigate the company.
***About three quarters of employees expect pay rises this year, according to a new study.
The 2016 Abrivia Recruitment Salary and Employment Trends Survey of 4,000 companies and 45,000 also found that more than half expect to change jobs over the next 12 months.
One in five employees will look to buy a home this year, with the current rental sector having a significant impact on pay expectations.
***The European Union will take the first step on Wednesday towards refashioning its trade ties with Beijing, torn over how to protect key industries against a damaging flood of cheap imports, while also lowering its defences to avert Chinese retaliation.
Commissioners from the bloc’s 28 members will debate for the first time the politically sensitive issue of granting China “market economy status” from December, which Beijing says is its right 15 years after it joined the World Trade Organisation.
The status would make it much harder for Europe to impose anti-dumping duties on Chinese goods sold at knock-down prices.