JD Sports Fashion has announced that, for the period from Dec. 2 to Jan. 3, it managed to keep its gross margin similar to 2007-08, when comparable store sales were up by 9.6 percent. This year they climbed by 2.8 percent in the five-week period. This breaks down to 1.0 percent growth in sports and 12.5 percent in fashion.

It attributes the relatively good score to not having sales until Dec. 26, unlike many retailers that heavily discounted before Christmas.

For the 48 weeks up to Jan. 3, comparable store sales grew by 3.8 percent, 3.1 percent in sports and 8.0 percent in fashion. Gross margins for that period were up slightly.

As a result of these figures, JD expects profit before tax and exceptional items will be slightly higher than expectations. It will make a preliminary announcement of its results for the full year ending Jan. 31 on April 8.