Retailer JD Sports Fashion is maintaining its guidance for the full year despite seeing a recent sales downturn – but the company warned that the Christmas trading period would be crucial to its fortunes.

Issuing an interim management statement for the period to 19 November, the UK company said gains in like-for-like sales in August and September had been replaced by declines in October and November.

Like-for-like sales for the second half were up 0.2%, thanks to a 1.3% gain in fashion fascias offsetting a 0.1% decline in the company’s sports shops.

However, once the VAT increase is factored out of the results, the company recorded a net like-for-like sales decline of 1.5%.

“Performance since 17 September has been impacted by the continuing downward pressures on all elements of discretionary consumer spending and the recent marked decline in consumer confidence,” said JD Sports.

The company added that it was “encouraged” by the potential for the Sprinter business in Spain, but reported a “mixed” performance for Canterbury, despite the impact of the Rugby World Cup.