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Next profits soar 12% to £695.2m

Full year profits at Next increased 11.8% to £695.2m as new retail space and online sales boosted earnings.

Sales rose 5.4% to £3.74bn in the year to January 25 2014.

Sales across Next Directory, its online and catalogue business, grew 12.4% to £1.34bn. Retail sales edged up 1.7% to £2.23bn.

Chief executive Lord Simon Wolfson said profit from new retail space and profit from additional online sales growth had been key profit drivers during the year.

He added that Next has adjusted its buying cycle to reflect the continuing trend for consumers buying closer to the point at which they need the clothing. Its aim is to increase the availability of cold weather clothing in January, February and March and warm weather clothing in August and September. The retailer will move away from a two season buying cycle to a four season cycle.

For the current financial year the retailer is forecasting profit before tax of between £730m and £770m.

Wolfson said: “The consumer economy has steadily improved over the course of the last year. This modest improvement looks set to continue. However, conditions are likely to remain far from buoyant and there are real risks to the sustainability of the current recovery.”

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