Retailer Next posted a 3.9pc rise in sales for November and December today as it weathered the difficult conditions on the high street.

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Retailer Next posted a 3.9pc rise in sales for November and December today as it weathered the difficult conditions on the high street.

Shares opened 4pc higher after the chain said the festive performance meant it was on track for profits growth at the top end of expectations.

The group was driven by a strong online performance, with Directory revenues up by 11.2pc between November 1 and December 24. Store sales were better than many City expectations, at 0.8pc higher than a year ago.

Despite the progress, chief executive Simon Wolfson warned trading conditions were likely to remain difficult this year as wage growth continues to lag behind inflation.

He said: “On balance, we expect the consumer environment to remain subdued but steady.”

Next said group pre-tax profits for the year to January were now expected to jump by between 7.1pc and 9.6pc, taking the figure to between £611m and £625m.

It said the better-than-expected performance reflected cost controls, less marked-down stock in the end of the season sale and better margins.

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