Fashion retailer Next has posted strong results for the six months, prompting it to increase its full year forecast.

The retail chain reported a 10.7% increase in sales for the 26 weeks leading to 26 July. It said it now expects its 2014/15 pre-tax profit to finish within the £775m-£815m range, up from £750m-£790m.

Next, which is the UK's second largest clothes retailer with over 500 stores in Britain and Ireland, reported a 10.7% increase in overall sales: in-store sales saw an increase of 7.5%, while directory sales surged by 16.2%.

Next raised its annual sales growth guidance to between 7% and 10%; an uplift from 5.5% to 9.5% range it forecast in April

Next said in a statement: "It might appear overly cautious to forecast a full year sales range which is below our current rate of growth. However, last year's first two quarters were hampered by a particularly cold Spring and Easter which presented a soft comparison for this year.

Next said estimating second half sales is particularly difficult thanks to incommensurate year-on-year comparisons. Accordingly its guidance for the next six months is for growth of between 4% and 10%.

The results will make galling reading for its rival M&S, which seems to be pinned to the drawing board in its various bids to turn a corner from its poor clothing sales results.

Shares in Next were up slightly by 0.3% to 259.5p on the back of its half a year results.