Fat Face suffered a drop in store sales during December, despite a late surge in the week before Christmas.

The clothing retailer said sales across its UK bricks-and-mortar business fell 6% year on year during the five weeks to January 5.

Fat Face blamed the fall on a “shift to online sales in the UK” and growing international revenues.

Ecommerce sales were up 16% during the period and international sales jumped 32%.

Fat Face described the early Christmas trading as “tough, with traffic in the market down during November”.

But the retailer insisted that “momentum then picked up in the final week before Christmas and continued through the Boxing Day Sale”.

Fat Face’s outgoing chief executive Anthony Thompson said: “Christmas shopping patterns appear to be changing, driven by Black Friday and growing consumer confidence in online delivery speed and availability. This resulted in an even later surge in December sales across our stores.

“A combination of our full-price strategy, international growth and investment in ecommerce and logistics delivered for Fat Face this Christmas.”

Half-year proits rise

Fat Face also posted financial results for the wider 26-week period to December 1, 2018, in which EBITDA grew 4% to £15.5m.

The retailer’s international sales surged 59% to £8.7m during that period.

Fat Face currently has 13 stores in the US, with plans to open between four and six new shops before the end of May.

Ecommerce sales were up 6% during the half year, as total sales climbed 2% to £122m.

Fat Face confirmed that incoming chief executive Liz Evans will join the business on March 1. As revealed by Retail Week last October, Fat Face has poached Evans from Oasis and Warehouse to succeed Thompson.