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Next failed to impress the City with its trading update this week, although its sales decline has slowed. For the 15 weeks to May 12, like-for-like sales fell 2.7% in the 336 stores unaffected by new openings, against a drop of 7.2% last year. Next Directory sales rose 4.6%. It said a good Easter was followed by a ‘very disappointing’ start to May.