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Next raises annual profit forecast to £860m after sales boost

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Next has raised its annual profit forecast after sales were boosted by the warm weather and people buying outfits for weddings and other social events, but warned of a slowdown in the coming months caused by the cost of living crisis.The clothing and homewares chain said sales of full-price items rose 5% in the three months to 30 July, compared with the same period a year earlier. “Many product trends have returned to pre-pandemic norms: Lockdown winners such as home and sportswear retreated, while formalwear returned to favour,” Next said.However, the company said sales had been boosted by an unusually warm summer, but added that the impact of high inflation on consumer spending was “likely to worsen in the second half”.

It increased its prices in the first half of the year by 3.7%, and plans further rises of 8% in the second half – 6.5% for fashion and 13% for homeware.Sales were better than expected because of the hot spell in June and July, and because of a “marked return to formal dressing”, driven by an increase in social events.

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