New Look like-for-likes rose 3.6% in the 5 weeks to December 31 despite the “challenging” trading conditions.

The fast fashion retailer said it has started to “see the impact of the actions taken since the summer to improve the performance of the business”, including the ramping up of its multichannel operations.

UK total sales excluding VAT were up 3.4% in the 5 week period, which includes Christmas and the first week of its Sale.

Group sales excluding VAT were up 2%.

New Look executive chairman Alistair McGeorge said: “We have worked hard to ensure our buying and merchandising teams are fully focused on delivering the fast fashion at great prices that our customers expect from us and are encouraged to see the early results of our actions coming through.

“At the same time, we have made the business more cost efficient whilst continuing to invest in key customer focussed initiatives including the successful launch of ‘click and collect’.

“This compliments the work that is underway to improve the customer experience in store, strengthening our multi-channel credentials.

“Our online business continues to grow strongly and customers now have the choice of whether to buy online via their PC, their smart-phone or in store through a new till system which was rolled out across our branch network during 2011.

“Our recent performance demonstrates that our hard work is beginning to pay off and we are pleased that both sales and profitability are responding positively.

“We are nevertheless mindful that we are operating against a backdrop of a tough and potentially worsening economic climate and remain cautious about the outlook for the next few months.”

New Look has also revealed that its chief marketing officer Guy Lister is to be appointed customer & multi-channel managing director and will join the main Board.

The move follows Dom McBrien’s exit in October, when he left to join Marks and Spencer.

New Look said Lister’s position brings together the functions and is part of its wider multi-channel strategy.

 Gill Moore, currently customer experience and trade planning director, will become marketing director.