Fashion retailer Next has reported a 2.3% rise in total brand sales in the first half of the year - after sales growth picked up a little in its second quarter, partly reflecting favourable weather.
That was just above first-quarter growth of 2.2% and consistent with previous sales guidance for the full 2013-14 financial year.
Next raised and narrowed guidance for pre-tax profit to 635-675 million pounds from 615-665 million pounds previously, and for growth in earnings per share to 8-15% from 4-13% previously.
Next said sales in its stores were down 0.9% in the period, while Directory sales were up 8.3%.
The store noted that consumers were becoming "more spontaneous in their purchasing habits", leading to high levels of weekly sales volatility driven by short term events like the weather, bank holidays and school holidays.
The group trades through over 500 stores in Britain and Ireland and approximately 200 stores overseas, as well as through its Directory internet and catalogue business.
Many retailers are still finding the going tough as consumers, whose spending generates about two-thirds of Britain's gross domestic product, fret over job security and a squeeze on incomes. However, recent data has been encouraging, showing signs of economic recovery.
Next has generally been able to defy the downturn, helped by its strong online offer, a constant stream of new store openings and diversification into homewares and overseas markets.
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