Matalan rides the "anguished" retail market with a blitz discounted at Christmas

Matalan is the latest in a series of retailers to admit that he has increased his discount efforts in the Christmas rush in an attempt to attract cautious buyers.

By combining artists like John Lewis and Quiz, Matalan said today that a sales increase during the holiday season was partly driven by a planned increase in promotions and sales.

Fashion at discounted prices and home retailer have attributed a 4% increase in sales to £ 148 million to an increase in online spending, an increase of 33.3% compared to an increase of 1.6% in its 217 stores.

Matalan said sales in the quarter increased by 4.9%, but profits fell by 11% to 40 million pounds

But the promotional blitz, along with the contrary winds of the currency, weighed on the bottom line. During the last three months, Matalan's profits have fallen by 11% to £ 40 million.

It is now expected that earnings for the full year are between £ 100 million and £ 102 million, a push below £ 104.5 million reported in the previous year.

Jason Hargreaves, head of the value chain, said: "In the period leading up to the Christmas period, the market has become increasingly distressing and we have benefited from a planned increase in our mix of sales promotions.

"We also tactically used our database of 12 million active customers to choose exclusive offers and discounts in further commercial support."

He said there was no "material dilution" for Matalan's full-price sales, which were 0.5% lower than last year's Christmas period.

Last week, High Street advocate John Lewis warned he might not be able to pay his staff bonus this year, after heavy promotions ate his margins at Christmas.

The boss of Matalan, Jason Hargreaves, has insisted that the company strategy is "clearly working"

Many retailers are struggling with higher costs, due to the weak sterling value and high wage costs, as well as changing purchasing habits, low consumer confidence and falling customer numbers.

Despite the City's expectations to the contrary, both M & S and Debenhams have been holding up their profit expectations for the entire year when they reported Christmas data last week.

M & S resisted the temptation to join Black Friday, keeping its margins intact, while Debenhams made heavy cost reductions.

Looking ahead, Hargreaves of Matalan said: "Although we are cautious for the coming year in what we expect to be a very difficult market, our approach is clearly working."

Matalan has invested in the growth of its online business, at the same time renewing its assets and making its operations more efficient.

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