Jacques Vert saw its like-for-like sales performance improve slightly to -5.4% in the run up to Christmas, but half-year sales and profits fell against the previous year.
Like-for-like sales at Jacques Vert, which owns the Jacques Vert, Windsmoor, Planet and Precis brands, fell 5.4% in the 11 weeks from October 25. However this was against a like-for-like fall of 6.8% for the 26 weeks to October 25.
Sales fell 5.8% to £54.9 million for the 26 week period and pre-tax profit fell from £3m to £1.1m over the six months.
Gross margin was in line with 2007 at 62.4% for the 26 week period. However this depleted in December because of widespread discounting.
Jacques Vert chairman Steve Bodger said: “The group’s sales and margin performance is creditable in an extremely challenging market. We expect the trading environment to continue in this way for some time and our continued emphasis will be on controlling costs, stocks and cash, thereby consolidating our strong balance sheet and cash position.”
Jacques Vert said customer reaction to its Sale has been “strong”. In a statement, the business said: “Our performance in December compares favourably with the market as a whole although the widely reported increase in the level of discounting in the market during this period has resulted in a slightly reduced gross margin % achieved compared with the previous year.”