Next’s full-price sales were up 4.3% in its half-year results to 31 July, compared with the same period last year, driven by a spike in online sales.
Brand total sales, including markdown, were up 3.8% on last year. In-store sales fell 5.5% to £874.3m on the same period in 2018, while online sales grew by 12.6% to £1bn.
Meanwhile, profit before tax at Next grew by 2.7% to £319.6m.
As a result, the company said it is maintaining its guidance for full year group profit before tax to be £725m, up 0.3% on last year.
Lord Wolfson, Next CEO, said stores remain integral to online sales as 50% of online orders are delivered to the company’s stores.
He commented: “Returns are a central part of our online service and 82% of returns come back through our stores. It is counter-intuitive, but the fact is stores have become an important part of our online service, though their rents are way out of kilter with the value they provide as collection and returns centres.
“So, if stores are to remain open, retail rents must fall and fortunately that is exactly what they are doing.”