Shares in British retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) recovered strongly from an early morning dip yesterday to close up almost 4.5pc after it beat market expectations during the second quarter with like-for-like sales in the UK up 5.3pc.
M&S chief executive Marc Bolland said that customers are "returning to quality", but the chain noted that trading conditions in Ireland and Greece remain difficult.
Group sales were 6.5pc higher during the period, with like-for-like food sales in the UK up 3.7pc. Mr Bolland said an M&S advertising campaign that features Brazilian supermodel Ana Beatriz Barros helped to attract an extra 1.8 million shoppers through the retailer's outlets. He added that M&S has sold three million meal deals for £10 (€11.40) each in the UK within the past five weeks.
M&S, however, told investors that trading conditions are likely to become more challenging.
"Consumers' disposable incomes will come under greater pressure from increased VAT rates and public spending cuts," said a trading statement from the group.