Waterstones delivered a robust performance over Christmas as margins held firm and sales dipped slightly.

Waterstones managing director James Daunt told Retail Week: “We had a top line number which was down on last year but margins in the core business were very good. We had a really strong performance on books. Non-books was weaker because some categories are under pressure, such as calendars and diaries.”

Daunt said high street footfall was slow to pick up and the retailer experienced a rush in the final four days.

He said given the retailer had to contend with a storm putting off shoppers on December 23, which is traditionally Waterstones’ biggest trading day, he was “really pleased” with the overall performance.

Discount bookseller and stationer The Works, which operates 305 stores, this week reported like-for-likes rose 9.5% in the 10 weeks to January 5.

The Foyles reported like-for-likes edged up 0.4% in December.