Once-beleagured clothing retailer gets pricing and availability right over the holiday period
Matalan has pulled off a turnaround this Christmas, as it reported a like-for-like sales increase of 5.3 per cent in the 10 weeks to January 8. This is compared with a massive downturn in like-for-like sales for the 10 weeks to January 10, 2004. The retailer put the sales uplift down to better in-store availability and a good response by customers to its monthly mailer programme.

The retailer lowered average selling prices during the period by 4.4 per cent, but managed to increase gross margins by 1.4 per cent, because of a tighter reign over markdowns. As a result the retailer expects to reach analyst expectations for the year.

Matalan chief executive John King said: 'We set out to return Matalan to sales growth. These figures show the business is responding to those efforts. Customers like our improved value proposition, and better execution of retailing disciplines has helped us deliver an improved Christmas performance despite the more difficult market conditions.'