House of Fraser has warned this year will continue to be challenging despite its Christmas like-for-likes soaring as the retailer reported a positive performance across all product categories.

The department store group like-for-likes surged 11.1% in the five weeks to December 31. House of Fraser said it notched up a record sales performance for the month of December.

Online sales in the 5 week period rocketed 124% representing House of Fraser’s single largest store.

In the week ending December 24 the department store chain experienced record trading with sales including VAT up 17% on the same week last year.

Chairman Don McCarthy admitted that it had been a difficult season due to mild autumn weather and excessive high street discounting during the period.

He said: “We are pleased with the positive sales performance in the critical Christmas trading period. The strong Christmas sales performance demonstrates the success of House of Fraser’s strategy to invest in the store portfolio, our online offer and to further develop house brands alongside our brand partners to provide a premium offer to our customers.

“Overall, this together with the slowing UK economy and weaker consumer confidence has had an adverse effect on sales and put greater pressure on margins.

“We believe that 2012 will continue to be very challenging for the general economy and consumer confidence.

“Accordingly, we have developed more cautious plans in anticipation of our customer spending habits continuing to be more considered and remain confident in our strategy for the future.”