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Profit surge for Next

Higher than expected.

Next said that its profits would be higher than expected this year, £611m-£625m for 2012, after an earlier estimate of £590m-£620m. Here's the Telegraph:

Next, who held off on markdowns until after Christmas to maintain profitability, said the sale had started well, with final clearance rates in line with last year and the group’s estimates.

It added that it had started the new year with less stock in the business than last year.

Looking to 2013, Next said it was “unlikely there will be any dramatic change in the consumer environment in the year ahead”.

With consumers spending less as incomes tighten, both Next and John Lewis, which reported a positive Chrismas period yesterday, have defied retail trends, which are expected to be mixed.