Next reports profits hike

Next has reported profits up 7.6% to £214.9m across its retail and catalogue business for the half year to July.

NextThe retailer enjoyed total sales up 1% overall with Next Directory performing slightly better with a sales increase of 1.7%.

Total retail sales were 0.8% ahead of last year, as a result of additional retail space but like for like sales at its high-street stores slipped 1.2%.

Next has maintained its marketing spend over the course of the year, investing in window displays, press and television advertising and PR activity.

Over the six-month period, the retailer has invested £14m in improving its retail stores and by the end of the year 85% of the store portfolio will have been updated with a further spend of £7m.

Next also boosted its trading space by over the period and plans to increase retail-trading space by 5.5% and open 11 additional Home stores.

The UK retailer plans to internationally in 2010 with an international online business expected to turnover £3m in it’s first year.

Despite “resiliant” results, the retailer expects continued negative like for like sales for the second part of the year and does not expect the consumer environment to change.

Next’s end of season sale will begin early on Boxing day this year which it expects to add to costs and impact on clearance rates.

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