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Next raises its profits forecast

Store sales at Next have returned to growth after a weather-hit slump earlier in the year, the clothing retailer has revealed.

Shares jumped 5% as the company also lifted its profits forecast for the year amid a stronger than expected improvement in performance.

But the company said trading "remained volatile" throughout the latest period.

Sales in the third quarter to October 26 were up 4.3%, just above the top end of an improvement of 1%-4% expected for the second half.

The figures included a 10.7% increase in the Next Directory catalogue and online division.

Retail stores managed to increase revenues by 0.4% – despite a stock blunder following the summer heatwave that left Next short of warm weather fashions in August.

The rise comes after sales fell 0.9% for the first half-year to the end of July, which included a dip during a period of freezing spring weather.

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Next said overall sales were up 3% for the year to date, including 1.9% from new openings.