Embattled sports retailer JJB like-for-likes rose 5% in the 4 weeks to December 26.

Like-for-like cash gross margin increased by 6%.

In the 21 weeks to December 26 like-for-likes tumbled 7.8%, compared to a slump of 17.7% in the first half.

In the 21 week period like-for-like cash gross margin fell 3.2% compared to a plummet of 31.7% in the first half. 

Like-for-likes in the 47 weeks to December 26 dropped 13.5% while like-for-like cash gross margin fell 20.8%. 

JJB chief executive Keith Jones said: “Our overall trading has improved in the second half of the financial year and we achieved a Christmas trading performance broadly in line with our expectations in the face of an extremely challenging consumer environment. 

“Looking ahead, the ongoing credit squeeze on consumers and weaker UK employment numbers creates a tough environment. We continue to implement our turnaround aware of the importance of the periods of the January sales, European football championships and London Olympics”.

Singer analyst Matthew McEachran pointed out that this is the first positive like-for-like from JJB “for a long time” but said snow disruption from the previous year is likely to have flattered the figures.