FASHION chain Next reported an 18% hike in profits after seeing a turnaround in sales following four years of declines.
The group posted pre-tax profits of £505m in the 12 months to January. That compares with earnings of £428.8m a year earlier.
Next said the increase was due to better than expected consumer spending and efforts to improve product ranges.
Like-for-like sales returned to positive territory with a 0.5% rise, but chief executive Simon Wolfson joined fellow retailers in expressing concern over 2010, saying the group is “extremely cautious” on the sales outlook.