High street retailer Next announced a 3.5% jump in sales in the 26 weeks to 25 July in its half year results. The shop's directory division, which includes its website and online shopping, rose by 7.5% while its in-store retail sales were up 0.8%, it reported on 28 July.
Next also lifted its profit growth guidance by 1.9% to 5.45%. The retailer has now set its profit guidance somewhere between £805m and £845m. Next's share price, which has climbed more than 16.6% since 28 July 2014, jumped 1.33% during pre-trading with investors are confident in the company's strategy and online sales.
Although clearance rates were lower than 2014, they were in line with expectation and total stock was up 4.8%.Richard Hunter, head of equities at investment adviser Hargreaves and Lansdown, said Next generally keeps its guidance down initially.
He said: "Next continues its inexorable growth, raising its guidance for sales and profits along the way." "Traditionally the company tends to manage expectations lower and subsequently outperform." He added: "This has again been the case in the first half, helped along by some warmer weather."