Value retailer Matalan said like-for-like sales slid over Christmas after its stores were cut off by the snow in December.

In the 19 weeks to January 8 like-for-like sales dropped 4.5% at Matalan, which has 209 mainly out-of-town stores.

As a result, Matalan was forced to implement an “aggressive tactical promotional strategy” which offset the risk to terminal stock levels and allowed Matalan to delay its full Sale until Boxing Day.

The retailer expects to end the year with terminal stock in line with the previous year and ended December with more than £100m of cash.

In the 39 weeks to November 27, before the full impact of the snow hit,  total sales rose 0.7% to £836m with year to date EBITDA in line with last year at £134.9m.

Like-for-likes dropped 0.6% during the period, but rose 7% over a two year period.

Operating profit before exceptionals was £110.3m, an increase on £109m in the same period a year before.

The retailer said that its online arm continued to grow strongly and that it had opened seven stores in the period, including its ‘store of the future’ in High Wycombe.

Matalan chief executive Paul Gilbert said: “Matalan has delivered solid results through to the end of November in a challenging market. The extreme weather experienced in December was frustrating, however, we have managed the terminal stock risk and our cash balances well.

“The year ahead will be demanding and our focus will be on maintaining our price competitiveness, driving further efficiency into our cost base, continuing to invest in new stores and growing our customer base.”