Next is to increase the marketing budget of its home shopping division by up to 20 per cent six months after cutting it back.
The U-turn comes on the back of improved profitability for the home shopping service, helped by cuts in the marketing budget.
The move was announced this week along with the company’s results for the six months to the beginning of July, which revealed a strong rise in profits. The main reasons behind the growth, according to the company, were increases in turnover in retail outlets and catalogue sales.
A Next spokesman says: “Declining sales led Next to reduce its spending on recruiting new customers. But because its customers spent more, it has decided to reinvest.”
Seven per cent of Next directory’s sales were through the Internet. The company expects to achieve &£20m in online sales in the full year.
The retailer reported an 18 per cent rise in pre-tax profit to &£80.7m and like-for-like sales were up seven per cent on the same period last year to &£685m. Sales at Next’s 338 stores saw an 11 per cent increase, while sales in its online and catalogue service rose by eight per cent.