Next lifted its profit hopes today as new stores and strong online sales gave the retail giant shelter from the stormy climate on the high street.
The fashion and homewares chain, which has around 540 stores, saw total sales rise 4.5% in the 26 weeks to July 28 as outlet sales edged 0.2% ahead and online Next Directory rose 13.3%.
The group said the store performance was helped by new space offsetting lower sales from shops open more than a year.
It now expects profits of between £575m and £620m for the year to January 31, up from an earlier forecast of between £560m and £610m.
Chief executive Lord Simon Wolfson admitted that without the larger online business and 300,000 sq ft added in the period, Next would be in a similar position as rivals such as Marks & Spencer, which recently revealed its worst trading performance for three years.