Value department store group Matalan reported a 1.5% dip in revenues over the five week Christmas trading period.
The retailer also recorded a 0.41% drop in revenues for the 13 weeks to November 24, 2012.
Total revenues for the quarter were £309.5m, down from £310.8m in the same period the prior year.
EBITDA in the period increased 8.6% to £45.3m as the retailer made margin improvements through tighter management of stock control and fewer markdowns compared with the third quarter a year ago.
Matalan chief executive Darren Blackhurst said: “While headline revenues are broadly in line with last year, this should be viewed in the context of the promotional activity that took place last year.”
“We have deliberately focused on the quality of our earnings throughout the current quarter and into December, and have delivered a robust improvement in margins.”
The market continues to be “challenging and competitive”, said Blackhurst, with the retailer cautious in its outlook.