Next posts profit but says late summer sales disappointing

Fashion retailer Next posted a 10.2 per cent rise in first-half profit this morning, as it warned that sales in late summer had been “disappointing”.

Profit at the retailer, which has over 500 stores in the UK and Ireland, climbed to £251m over the first half, while revenue increased 4.8 per cent to £1.6bn.

Next said today: “We remain cautious about the economic outlook whilst maintaining full year guidance that our sales, profits and earnings per share will all move forward on last year.”

The retailer increased the dividend by 12.7 per cent to 31p a share.

Many British retailers are finding the going tough as consumers hold back spending in the face of inflation, meagre wage increases, employment fears and government austerity measures.

Last week the British Retail Consortium said that retail sales fell 0.4 per cent in August on a like-for-like basis, as the Olympics failed to inspire spending.