Fashion retailer New Look has posted a 3.7% increase in UK like-for-like sales over the Christmas period, and says it remains confident the "positive momentum" can be maintained.

Excluding VAT, UK sales were up 4% for the 14 weeks to 29 December, while total group sales rose 4.5%.

The company today (7 January) said gross margin was significantly ahead of last year as a result of tight stock management, as well as lower markdown and promotional activity.

Chairman Alistair McGeorge said: "I am delighted that we have seen continued momentum in New Look's performance. The group has delivered an excellent result in a challenging trading environment, and this performance is a testament to the success of our recovery programme and the strength of our brand.

"Once again customers have been tactical in their shopping through December, delaying spending until later in the month and searching out best value, which New Look was well equipped to deliver."

Online sales were up over 50% on last year, McGeorge added.

"Looking ahead we expect the economic outlook to remain challenging. However, we are confident in our ability to maintain the positive momentum being generated from the improved value of our ranges, our store refurbishment programme and continued growth of our online offer."