Peacocks said the value sector will continue to “flourish” in 2010, after reporting solid Christmas trading and better than expected like-for-like sales in the new year.

Chief executive Richard Kirk said the group had invested an extra £20m in stock compared with last year. “Peacocks always has a cracking Christmas because people tend to shop locally and the weather was seasonably cold,” he said.

Kirk added that the value chain managed to record flat like-for-like sales last week despite heavy snow, rising to double digits this week.

Like-for-like sales at Peacocks climbed 8% in the eight weeks to January 2, with a 17% spike in December and early January. Total sales over Christmas jumped 13%.

Peacocks’ collaboration with Pearl Lowe will expand in spring as a full collection, and hit stores at the end of March.

Last week, rival New Look - which is still mulling a float - also reported a stellar Christmas, with UK like-for-likes rising 5.9% in the 14 weeks to January 2. Total turnover jumped 14.4%.

Chief executive Carl McPhail said: “While we remain cautious about consumer spending and expect sentiment to remain subdued, we are well placed to continue growth.”