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Matalan boosted by bargain hunters

Matalan saw like-for-like sales rise 5.9% for the five weeks ended January 4, placing it firmly in the Christmas winners camp.

Like-for-like sales for the 13 weeks ended January 3 were up 3.4% while total sales rose 4% to £327 million.

Matalan said it had stuck to its normal Christmas promotional activity despite widespread discounting on the high street, and that as a result, gross margin improved for the 13 week period.

Matalan said its value positioning had helped it and boosted footfall, as shoppers looked for cheaper goods because of the economic downturn. It added that this helped it gain market share across all categories.

Matalan said it had also reduced debt levels. Its current net debt to EBITDA ratio is 1.5 against 3.6 at the time of the buyout of the business in December 2006.

Matalan chief executive Alistair McGeorge said: “We are pleased to report this robust performance from the business. The ongoing investment we are making in stores is delivering a better shopping experience for our customers. Our ranges continue to improve and we offer fantastic value to all of our customers.”

McGeorge added: “We are now in a position to grow the business and will be investing to do so despite the current economic environment.” 

Matalan was not the only value player to experience a strong Christmas. Both New Look and Peacocks reported strong sales growth.

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