SuperGroup , the company behind the Superdry fashion brand, posted a 22 percent rise in group sales over the key Christmas period as it overcame distribution issues which had dogged the firm in 2011.

The company, whose clothes are a favourite of celebrities such as David Beckham, Leonardo DiCaprio and Zac Efron, said on Wednesday total sales increased 22 percent to 79 million pounds in the nine weeks to January 1.

That compares with a second quarter rise of 42 percent at the company which is known for its trademark T-shirts, hooded tops, check shirts and jogging bottoms.

It said it was pleased with the Christmas trading as it came at a time of tough economic challenges and against what it described as an exceptionally strong Christmas sales last year.

Retail sales were up 28 percent while wholesale sales slipped 4 percent which it attributed to different phasing of supplier deliveries. Overall, like for like retail sales including the internet were up 5.8 percent.

Overall, our retail business has seen an improving sales trend as our stores became better stocked following the resolution of our warehouse issues and the continued demand for our products and brand, Chief Executive Julian Dunkerton said.

We have also successfully opened one floor of our Regent Street store.

With British shoppers' disposable incomes squeezed by rising prices, muted wages growth and government austerity measures, store chains generally had a tough Christmas, using early sales to attract customers. They do not expect 2012 to be much better.

SuperGroup, which trades from over 70 UK stores and over 100 international licensed, franchised and owned stores, issued a profit warning in October after the botched implementation of a warehouse IT system upgrade.

SuperGroup was one of 2010's most successful stock market flotations. After listing at 500 pence 22 months ago, its shares rocketed to a high of 1,899 pence in February last year after a procession of stellar sales figures.

But a poorly received fourth-quarter trading statement in May and October's profit alert prompted a dramatic reversal.

(Reporting by Kate Holton)