Outdoor apparel retailer Blacks Leisure Group said sales throughout the Christmas and New Year sales period helped push up like-for-like sales by 6.2 per cent in the eight weeks ended 15 January.

Blacks said same-store sales over the last 20 weeks have increased 9.4 per cent, but that margins were nearly one per cent lower due to stock clearance after disappointing summer sales.

Blacks Leisure Group operates 442 outlets under names including Millets, Blacks and O'Neill. The company forecasts profits of £20.8 million for the financial year ending February 2005.