Companies that trade across the border are performing better than those that don't, according to the latest Business Monitor from Intertrade Ireland.

The survey found that 41% of cross-border firms were reporting rapid to moderate growth – compared to 21% of firms that do not trade across the border.

Meanwhile, 78% of cross-border firms describe themselves as profitable. That compares to 51% of firms that do not trade across the border.

"I think it's the fact that they’re able to access more customers, some of them are enjoying greater profitability when they sell across the border," said Martin Robinson, director of strategy at IntertradeIreland.

"Really the opportunities are there for more and more businesses to look at the cross-border market – for the first time in many cases, or indeed to selling into the market that is nearest to them."

The business monitor found that the vast majority - 83% - of cross-border firms were either stable or in growth mode, which is comparable with the last survey.

However certain sectors were facing a more challenging situation, with 42% of leisure, hotel and catering firms experiencing a drop in sales.

"Unfortunately certain sectors are feeling the pinch," he said. "I think that’s a combination of more and more people looking to get away this year now that travel has opened up, but also rising costs are having an impact as well and sales are falling.

"It’s not good news for every sector".

Rising costs is cited as a major concern for many companies in this survey. Meanwhile nearly half of all firms – 46% - cited a difficulty in recruiting appropriately-skilled staff as a key issue.

Meanwhile the challenge of Covid-19 and Brexit had reduced for many firms, despite the ongoing uncertainty around the Northern Ireland Protocol.

"While uncertain still exists, what we’re seeing – and what our data is showing in IntertradeIreland is that the importance of Brexit, and indeed Covid, is beginning to decline over time," Mr Robinson said.

"We’re actually seeing more businesses beginning to make the adjustments that are necessary to enable them to trade and I think that’s a positive trend.