Womenswear retailer Jacques Vert has revealed like-for-likes dropped 6.8 per cent in the 26 weeks to October 25, with sales falling from £58.3m to £54.9m.

Jacques Vert's profit before tax tumbled to£1.1m, compared with last year's figure of£3m, which includes an exceptional credit of£0.9m.

In the 11 weeks since October 25, the retailer said trading has improved, with like-for-likes dropping 5.4 per cent.

Jacques Vert’s gross margin was in line with last year, at 62.4 per cent. The retailer recorded net cash of£4m compared with£1.3m last year, while its net assets increased from£21.9m last year to£27.m this year.

The retailer said customer reaction to its Sale has been “strong”, adding that it believes its performance in December “compares favourably with the market as a whole” and it is “well positioned to weather the difficult economic climate”.

It also said its stock levels are lower than in the previous year.

In a statement it said: “The board expects the challenging market conditions will continue for the remainder of the financial year and we are expecting the like for like sales trend to continue to be negative for some time to come.”

Jacques Vert’s chairman Steve Bodger said: “The group's sales and margin performance is creditable in an extremely challenging market. We expect the trading environment to continue in this way for some time and our continued emphasis will be on controlling costs, stocks and cash, thereby consolidating our strong balance sheet and cash position."