Next has posted a fall in sales and profit for the first half of the financial year.
Group profit before tax was down 9.5% for the six months to the end of July, and earnings per share were down 6.2%.
Its full price sales dropped by 1.2%, while total sales including markdowns were down 2.3% on last year.
The company said: “The first half of the year has been difficult and sales and profits are in line with our cautious expectations.
“However, our performance in the last three months has been encouraging on a number of fronts and whilst the retail environment remains tough, our prospects going forward appear somewhat less challenging than they did six months ago. As a result, we are taking the opportunity to modestly upgrade our sales and profit guidance for the full year.”
It added that the first half has “seen a marked divergence of performance” between its retail and directory businesses, with sales and profits down in retail but “moving forward” in directory.
The company declared an ordinary interim dividend of 53p per share, which it said was in line with last year.