Oxford-based bookseller Blackwell's said it had a "cracking" Christmas, with like-for-like sales growth of 6.9 per cent in the six weeks to December 29.

The rise covers 59 stores, but excludes 10 branches bought from Scottish bookseller James Thin last January and seven shops that were closed or sold.

Its flagship shop in Broad Street, Oxford, increased sales by 13 per cent.

Blackwell's said key factors in its success included a bigger promotional offer and larger advertising spend in the national press.

The Christmas period was described as excellent by rival bookseller Waterstone's, which also has a shop in Broad Street, and respectable by Ottakar's, which has outlets in Witney and Banbury.

Waterstone's, owned by HMV, achieved a 5.6 per cent increase in like-for-like sales for the five weeks to January 4 and Ottakar's five per cent for the six weeks to January 11.