Leading out-of-town value-priced apparel chain Matalan Plc on Thursday posted a 5.7 per cent climb in like-for-like sales for the first 17 weeks of fiscal 2002 compared to 7.2 per cent sales growth in May. The results were better-than-expected as analysts had expected the World Cup and unseasonal weather to take their tool on sales. In a statement, Matalan said group sales were up 25.6 per cent and retail sales up 19.4 per cent.