Jacques Vert, the womenswear group which includes brands Jacques Vert, Windsmoor, Planet and Precis, saw like-for-like sales rise 1.9% in the eleven weeks to January 8.
Jacques Vert said that sales up to the end of November were strong but that the performance was impacted by the poor weather in December.
Sales in the three week period ending December 24 were “significantly” down on last year although they rebounded in the two weeks following Christmas.
Gross margin during the eleven week period was lower than the same period the year before as the group reacted to higher levels of discounting by competitors and took action to keep stocks under control.
In the 26 weeks to October 23, profit before tax jumped 7% to £3.1m, on sales up 1.3% to £56.5m. Like-for-like sales jumped 3.1% for the period.
Jacques Vert, which has about 900 stores in the UK, Canada and Republic of Ireland, said the strong performance was driven by its ecommerce channel but was offset by the rationalisation of underperforming retail space.
Gross margins, which were down slightly at 65% from 65.3%, were impacted by cost pressures in the supply chain.
Cash at the business improved and at the period end was £11.2m. A dividend of £1.2m was paid to shareholders and the company also invested £1.1m in new IT and ecommerce systems and their retail portfolio.
Chairman Steve Bodger said: “I am pleased to report a solid performance during the first half of the financial year. Thegroup’s brands performed well in a competitive market and there is further scope for our online business to realise its full potential. Recent trading conditions have been more challenging and the economic outlook provides further concern; but we feel the strength of our brands and our financial position will stand us in good stead in the market.”