Budget bookseller The Works has recorded a 6% rise in like-for-like sales in December as its ecommerce sales rocketed 300%.

Total sales were up 9% over the critical Christmas period, boosted by new store openings. The Works said the week to December 24 was the biggest ever trading week in the bookseller’s history.

The Works chief executive Kevin Keaney said: “Our strong Christmas sales performance crowns another positive December trading period for The Works.

“In this tough economic climate, when many retailers are pleased to simply maintain sales, we are proud to have achieved more than 6% like-for-like growth for two consecutive Christmases.

“I’m also pleased to report that we maintained our margins throughout the month, launching our Sale as planned on Boxing Day.”

Keaney added that the performance was driven by “strong operational and buying disciplines, along with prudent expansion of our store estate and the accelerated growth of our ecommerce business”.

He added that “significant social trends, including a noticeable move back to traditional family activities” have played into the hands of The Works.

Sales of arts and crafts products performed particularly strongly, up 30%, while jigsaws and games increased by 37% and literature was up 21%.

Keaney added: “Our strong performance in books shows that traditional paper formats continue to show resilience against digital versions. While e-books are an important consideration in our market, the numbers support our belief that there will always be a place for physical books, sold both online and through bricks-and-mortar stores.

“Whilst we fully expect 2013 to be another tough year for retail, all indications are positive for us to continue our growth trajectory.”

The Works was bought out of administration in 2008 by private equity firm Endless.