N Brown sales were down over the festive period with its power brands failing to boost the group’s dismal performance.

Group sales fell 1.6% in the 18 weeks to January 5, buoyed by a financial services rise of 9.7%. Product sales fell 6% with power brand sales rising just 0.1%. Simply Be and Jacamo sales rose by 1.6% and 5.5% respectively but JD Williams pulled the power brand trio down, with sales falling 3.3%.

Secondary brand sales fell 5.2% while traditional brand sales slumped 22.9%.

The picture was brighter online with product up 1.3% overall and power brand sales rising 6.4%, but was not strong enough to ensure a good performance overall.

Despite a promotional environment and poor sales, the group managed to maintain margin.

Thanks to that maintained profit margin, improved operational efficiency and a strong financial services performance, the group believes it will meet full-year profit expectations.

Chief executive Steve Johnson said: “The group delivered robust online power brand growth and a stable margin performance in what was a challenging and highly promotional peak trading period. 

“We continue to manage the anticipated decline of our legacy offline business and remain focused on improving our customer proposition to drive profitable online growth. 

“Trading over the cyber and Christmas periods was relatively consistent and in line with our expectations with the group benefiting from a more targeted and efficient approach to its promotional activity.”