Fashion retailer Joules has cheered rising sales in the run-up to Christmas, despite the challenging retail backdrop.

The high street retailer credited its "disciplined" promotional activity and strong online growth for the jump in sales for the half-year.

Joules said revenues increased by 1.3% in the half-year to November, driven by a 3.1% uptick in retail revenues.

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Chief executive Nick Jones said: "Joules has delivered further profitable growth during the period despite the continued challenging trading environment.

"This performance again reflects the appeal of the brand, the flexibility of our 'total retail' model and the hard work and skill of our team, who have not only helped deliver growth in this tougher climate but have also launched innovative new initiatives like Friends of Joules that create future growth opportunities.

"We continue to invest in our proposition to meet changing customer expectations in a scalable and profitable way and, with positive momentum across both digital and physical channels, we are well placed as we enter the important Christmas trading period."

Homeware and furnishings retailer Dunelm has said it expects to beat original profit forecasts for the year as it cheered the launch of its new digital platform.

The retailer said the move to a new website did not impact its sales performance, allowing it to maintain strong online sales.

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It added that margins were better than predicted on the back of "sourcing gains and better sell through".

Dunelm said its operational costs have also been "well controlled" over the recent period to bring costs in line with expectations.

However, the company said its increase in profit expectations is on the assumption that there is "no significant change in consumer demand as a result of the outcome of the General Election".

The retailer was launched in 1979 before floating on London Stock Exchange in 2006, and has now grown to have around 170 sites across the UK.

In its previous performance update, Dunelm warned it saw "mixed" trading in September due to a "softer homeware market".

The Daily Mail's parent company saw sales and profits slip for the year despite its online operations helping to weather the continued downturn in newspaper sales.

The company saw pre-tax profits slip 21% to £145 million for the year to September 30.

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Meanwhile, revenues dropped 1% to £1.4 billion for the year on the back of sliding sales for the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday newspapers.

Paul Zwillenberg, chief executive of DMGT, said: "We have continued to deliver successfully against our three strategic priorities of increasing portfolio focus, improving operational execution and maintaining financial flexibility.

"We will continue with our active portfolio management approach, focusing on those assets that have the potential to drive good returns through strong cashflow generation and growth in capital value.

"We are now in the next phase of the group's transformation, optimising our business through targeted and disciplined investment whilst maintaining significant financial flexibility to enhance shareholder value."