Next bucks the gloom and sets sights on China

 
Kasmira Jefford
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NEXT is to launch its website in Chinese this autumn as Britain’s second largest clothes retailer steps up its expansion overseas.

The company will update the market on its online growth plans alongside its half-year results on Wednesday, with its catalogue and online Directory business again expected to have offset a fall in sales at its high street stores.

Analysts at Investec forecast Next to report a 1.9 per cent growth in total sales in the six months to 31 July.

Sales across its 500-plus fashion and homeware stores are expected to have fallen by three per cent, with its Directory business delivering a 11.7 per cent rise in sales, helped in part by the wet weather.

The group, which designed the outfits worn by Team GB at the Olympics opening ceremony, delivers to 48 countries and has sites in languages including Russian and Japanese.

It said in April that a Chinese site had “proven harder to get up and running than initially anticipated”, but expected to launch during the year.