UK fashion retailer Joules has hailed "continued strong retail trading" throughout the Christmas period, with growth across all of the brand 's product categories.  

In a trading update today (8 January), Joules said retail sales increased by 11.7% in the seven-week period to 6 January against the prior year on a comparable basis. 

The company reported a particularly strong performance online – with e-commerce representing almost half of total retail sales during the period, driven by a good performance through its own digital channels as well as through concession partners' websites.

Retail performance during the seven weeks supports the board's forecast for full-year 2019 profit before tax in line with its expectations.  

CEO Colin Porter said the strong retail performance through the festive trading period "represents an improvement from the retail sales growth in the first half of the year. This good growth was achieved despite the ongoing backdrop of challenging sector trading conditions. The group's performance was again underpinned by the strength of the  Joules brand, our growing and loyal customer base, and the flexibility of our 'total retail' model which continues to enable Joules to adapt to changing customer shopping behaviours." 

Kate Ormrod, lead analyst at GlobalData, notes trading was supported by Joules's 'biggest Black Friday event'. "Clearly getting ahead of rivals' promotions helped matters given shoppers' more cautious spending. The offers of up to 50% off were in line with the prior year, so the lack of even deeper discounting is further confirmation that trading held up for the brand in the run-up to Christmas despite 2018's challenges."

Joules will announce its interim results for the 26-week period to 25 November 2018 on 23 January.