Like-for-like sales at retail group JD Sports are down 2.8% on the year to date, but the company insists that trading remains in line with management expectations.

The UK retailer said the figures for the period from the end of January to 6 June were “harder to interpret” because of the impact of the run-up to the football World Cup a year ago.

Like-for-like sales were down 3% at sports outlets and 1.6% at fashion stores, it added, with margin deterioration within the range of its expectations.

The news follows JD Sports’ April announcement of a 0.4% rise in like-for-like sales for the eight weeks to 26 March.

“Our cautious outlook at the time of that announcement remains unchanged and continues to be based on the very clear downward pressures on levels of gross consumer expenditure in our market and the increased VAT take from such expenditure,” the company said.

It expects to release its next rading update on 21 September.