Country Casuals trading offset by Sales deferral
Shrewd timing of Sales made up for a dip in trading over Christmas at Austin Reed Group. The core Austin Reed brand experienced its customary rise in the 22 weeks to January 15, as customers responded well to the retailer's January Sales. Total sales at the brand increased by 8.9 per cent, and 9.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis. The retailer's margins were also increased.

However, sales at the group's Country Casuals chain fell 5.6 per cent in total, while like-for-like sales slipped 5.9 per cent over the period. The retailer deferred the start of its winter Sale from December 9 to December 26 to increase margins by 6 per cent, more than offsetting the dip in sales. As a consequence, the group expects full-year results to be above market forecasts.