Next rides out 'perfect storm'

Press Association
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Retail chain Next has said it rode out the "perfect economic storm" after £1 billion of online and catalogue sales boosted profits by 5%.

The fashion and homewares chain, which has 536 stores, said the haul of £570.3 million for the year to January 31 was slightly ahead of its previous guidance. Its Directory arm saw sales rise 16% to £1.1 billion, and now accounts for nearly a third of its business, offsetting a 1.4% decline in its retail division.