UK discount fashion and homewares retailer Matalan today (11 January) said it remains cautious in its outlook after Christmas revenues slipped 1.5%.

Total revenue edged down 0.4% to GBP309.5m (US$499m) for the 13 weeks to 24 November, compared to GBP310.8m the year before. 

EBITDA, however, increased 8.6% to GBP45.3m against GBP41.7m the prior year.

The company said it continued to improve margins during the peak trading season through tight management of seasonal volumes and fewer markdowns, compared to the same period the year before. It also benefited from falling cotton prices. 

Chief executive Darren Blackhurst said: "Whilst headline revenues are broadly in line with last year, this should be viewed in the context of the promotional activity that took place last year.

"We have deliberately focused on the quality of our earnings throughout the current quarter and into December, and have delivered a robust improvement in margins."

Looking forward, Blackhurst added: "The market continues to be challenging and competitive and we therefore remain cautious in our outlook."