Internet and catalogue home shopping specialist N. Brown said trading picked up in December after flat performance in October and November.
Total group revenue in the 19 weeks to January 7th increased by 2.3% from a year earlier, while like-for-like revenue, which excludes sales from new stores, rose 2.0%.
The group said the sales profile in the second half of the year was much the same as the first half, but with an upturn in ladies-wear and what the group calls its "mid-life" titles.
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
Online sales are now close to comprising half of all revenue, and were up 9% year-on-year over the reporting period.
Singing a song remarkably similar to that sung by other retailers recently, the group said that it has had to engage in "additional promotional activity" - industry code for price cuts and special offers - to drive sales, and this will reduce the rate of gross margin for the financial year as a whole.
"The two Simply Be concept stores have been well received and have attracted predominantly new customers thereby expanding the brand's reach in plus size fashion, and we have committed to five more stores in 2012," the group revealed.
International sales have met expectations in the USA but in Germany the group pulled back a little on recruiting new catalogue agents as it focused on reducing the returns rate, a focus which is showing some early signs of success, the group said.
The board said that with less than two months of its financial year left, performance should be in line with expectations, though this is somewhat dependent on the response to the Spring catalogue, which is despatched to agents in January and February.
Gazing into its crystal ball, the group said that 2012 does not look like it will be easy for its customers but there ought to be some sort of relief from the expected reduction in the rate of inflation, especially for clothing and footwear.
"We will continue to drive for growth in our core UK home shopping business, particularly through the online channel, as well as focusing on our strategic opportunities in multi-channel stores and international markets," the group pledged.
Should your business invest in a VoIP phone service?
Here's what you need to know about VOIP (voice over IP) services before landlines go digital in 2025.
By David Prosser Published
M&S is back in fashion: but how long can this success last?
M&S has exceeded expectations in the past few years, but can it keep up the momentum?
By Rupert Hargreaves Published