Lisa Snowdon: spearheaded Marks & Spencer's recent marketing campaign

Marks & Spencer made profits of about €70m from its operations in the Republic of Ireland and Hong Kong, according to its annual report which was released last week. "Owned store operating profits were £57.7m (€69.3m), up 26%, reflecting profits in Ireland and Hong Kong, offset by small losses in China, India and Greece," the report states.

Despite the fact that "difficult trading" conditions affected its operations here, the company also managed to post a profit from the sale of retail space adjacent to its store on Grafton Street in Dublin city centre. That sale of the Tommy Hilfiger store to German investment bank Deka was "mainly responsible" for the group's €9.75m profit from property disposals, the report states.

"The economic environment in Republic of Ireland continued to be challenging. However, our pricing remains competitive and we responded to the changes in alcohol duty and Vat, offering an immediate reduction to our customers ahead of our competitors," it said.

Marks & Spencer has shook up its marketing campaign earlier this year, hiring model and radio presenter Lisa Snowdon and singer Dannii Minogue to be new faces for the retailer.