JD Sports Fashion has reported group like-for-like sales for the five weeks to January 2 up 6.6%.

For its sports fascias, JD and Size, like-for-likes were up 5.9%, and for its fashion fascias, Bank and Scotts, like-for-likes were up 9.7%.

JD Sports’ group like-for-like sales for the 48 weeks to January 2 are up 2.7%, with sports fascias up 2.3% and fashion fascias up 4.5%. JD Sports said UK retail gross profit margins have improved marginally over the full period compared to the previous year.

The board now said it believes that current market expectations for group pre-tax profit and exceptional items will be “significantly exceeded” although the extent to which this occurs is still dependent on the impact of the severe weather conditions.

JD Sports executive chairman Peter Cowgill said: “The Christmas trading period has again been a good one for the group and I am particularly pleased with both the sustained progress in the sports fascias and the strong performance of the Bank fashion fascia. This has been the result of our strong product proposition and a lot of hard work from employees throughout the business.”

Broker Singer said JD’s performance is “an excellent achievement”. Analyst Mark Photiades said: “In particular, the growth seen in fashion is very encouraging, as we believe that going forward the fashion division will be one of the main growth drivers for the group, primarily via the acquired Bank chain.”