Marks and Spencer reported an increase in like-for-like food sales of 3.9% in the 7 weeks to January 11 and 4% in the 15-week period to the same date. Chief executive Roger Holmes said M&S had also experienced the fifth consecutive quarter of strong growth in clothing sales.
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Security specialist Checkpoint Systems has launched a new digital security system. The 3rdGeneration digital system can be adapted to read RFID source tags.

Tesco took nearly 25% of the core grocery market in the Irish Republic in the 12 weeks to the end of December, according to the latest figures from Taylor Nelson Sofres.
Dunnes came second, with an estimated 22% share, followed by SuperValu at 19%. Smallest chain, Superquinn, saw its share slump below 10%.

Richmond Ice Cream has completed a £560,000 investment programme at its site at Leeming Bar in North Yorkshire. £250,000 was used to increase the warehouse capacity from 800 pallets to 2,500 pallets and £310,000 to build a new office complex with a canteen.

The British Retail Consortium is calling on the Bank of England's monetary policy committee to cut interest rates. The BRC's Shop Price Index showed that high street prices were up only 0.99% in December 2002 compared with December 2001.
BRC director general Bill Moyes said prices were stable and posed no inflationary threat. He said the MPC needed to cut rates if they wanted to see a continuing moderate growth in consumer spending in 2003.

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