Next profits soar 18%

Next has reported an 18% rise in profits to £505m for the year ending January 2010.

Like-for like sales, which exclude new stores, rose for the first time in five years, up 0.5%.

Retail sales for the full year were 3.5% up on last year with total sales of £3,406m.

John Barton, chairman of Next says it has been an “exceptional year” for the high street fashion chain.

He attributes the sales growth following four years of negative like for like figures to “the work Next has done to revitalise the brand” in the previous three years and improvements to its range by adopting fashion trends more quickly.

During the year Next spent £26m refitting and £7m extending it stores as part of a programme to “reinvigorate” the portfolio.

He adds that the strength of its management team has allowed the chain to “contain costs, improve products and invest in the business”.

Barton says that the chain’s focus for the coming year will remain “investing in the Next brand and improving and extending product ranges.”

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