Next has reported a 7.1% growth in pre-tax profits after its brand sales rose ahead of expectations.
The high street retail chain said pre-tax profits rose to £347.1m in the first half of the year.
Its brand sales for this period were up 3.3% while total group sales rose 2.7% to £1.9bn.
Total retail sales edged up by 0.2% while margins moved forward due to productivity improvements and the closure of underperforming stores.
“The main reason for the margin improvement is that our buying teams over-achieved against their target margin, assisted by better currency rates,” Next said today.
“In addition, productivity improvements and the closure of underperforming stores meant that wage and property costs did not rise as much as might be expected.”
Next said that the addition of profitable new locations, the relocation and expansion of successful stores and the closure of underperforming stores remains central to the development of its retail business.
“We are now planning to increase net trading space by 293,000ft2 this year. This is 57,000ft2 less than planned because the opening of two large stores has slipped into the beginning of next year,” the retailer added.