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Next reports sales hike, thanks to its internet business

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Next today reported a 2.2% boost to sales, thanks once again to its growing internet business.

The fashion retailer said that a 1.9% fall in retail sales was counteracted by an 8.9% rise in the internet-led directory sales to put Next brand sales in positive territory in the first 14 weeks of its financial year. Overall sales, as a result, grew by 2.2%. Of this, it said, 1.5% came from the opening of profitable new space.

Commenting on the figures, Next said in today’s interim management statement: “It is apparent that the poor March figures were down to an abnormally cold spring, equally the good weeks since mid-April have been boosted by pent-up demand from the previous month.

“We believe that neither period is indicative of any significant change in the underlying economy. The overall number of +2.2% is the best guide for future performance and we remain cautious about the consumer environment. We anticipate that the continuing decline in real earnings will depress discretionary spending for at least the next 18 months, if not longer.”

The company said it expected full-year sales to grow by between +1% and +4%, with profits ranging from £615m to £665m.

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