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M&S in festive boost

RETAILING giants Marks & Spencer and Debenhams reported a strong boost in sales during the Christmas period.

M&S saw sales in its international division -- which includes Ireland -- grow by over 8pc in its third quarter.

And British retailer Debenhams has announced that its group sales in the 13 weeks to December 31 were up 2.4pc.

The two stores said that discounts helped to attract shoppers over the Christmas season but they anticipated trading conditions would remain challenging,

"We are cautious about the strength of the economy and its impact on consumer behaviour over the remainder of the financial year," said chief executive of Debenhams Michael Sharp.

"We will continue to manage the business tightly."