Page last updated at 06:52 GMT, Wednesday, 16 September 2009 07:52 UK

Next sees consumer mood improve

Next head office
The sunny weather boosted clothing sales, Next said

Fashion retailer Next says it has seen a "slight improvement" in consumer confidence - but was still cautious about prospects for the months ahead.

It saw a 6.9% rise in pre-tax profits to £185.5m in the six months to July.

And the High Street chain increased its annual profits forecast for the third time in five months - thanking better ranges and the boost in consumer mood.

Next said the decline in like-for-like sales had been easing, but were still set to remain negative until mid-2010.

Total sales rose by 2% in the period, but like-for-like sales, which strip out new stores, fell 1.2%.

The retailer said good weather had particularly benefited sales of summer clothing.

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