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Next boosts profit forecast after sales rise

Next has upped its profit forecast by £10m following a rise in full price sales over the first half of the year.

In the 26 weeks to July 27 total sales at the high street retailer rose 2.3%, with full price sales increasing thanks to a smaller end of season Sale.

Prior to its Sale, which kicked off on July 13, sales were 3.7% up on last year and the chain went into its Sale period with 20% less stock than last year.

Next’s Directory arm, which comprises the online and catalogue business, was the best performer with sales rising 8.3% during the period, while retail sales slipped 0.9%.

Next said the combined effect had added £10m to first half profits, and the businses would increase and narrow its guidance for the full year accordingly.

The retailer has increased its group pre-tax profit guidance to £635-675m from £615-665m.

However Next said it continued to experience “the weekly sales volatility that we saw in the first quarter”.

In a statement the retailer said: “It would appear that consumers are becoming more spontaneous in their purchasing habits. As a result, weekly sales are more affected by short term events such as a change in the weather, the timing of Bank Holidays, school holidays and so on.”

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