Fashion chain New Look’s like-for-likes rose 3.7% in the 14 weeks to December 29.

Total sales jumped 4.5% over the period, while UK revenue increased 4%.

The retailer’s gross margin was also “significantly ahead” of last year which it said was a result of tight management of stock, lower markdown and promotional activity.

New Look chairman Alistair McGeorge said: “The group has delivered an excellent result in a challenging trading environment, and this performance is a testament to the success of our recovery programme and the strength of our brand.”

McGeorge said customers had been “tactical” in their December shopping and had delayed shopping until later in the month.

The fashion chain’s online sales were “very strong”, according to McGeorge, soaring over 50% year-on-year.

McGeorge said: “Looking ahead we expect the economic outlook to remain challenging, however, we are confident in our ability to maintain the positive momentum being generated from the improved value of our ranges, our store refurbishment program and continued growth of our online offer.”

New Look chief executive Anders Kristiansen starts today. He joins the fashion chain from Bestseller’s Chinese business.