MILESTONE: Fashion chain Next set to overtake biggest rival M&S

Picture : Lorne Campbell / Guzelian'The NEXT store in Bradford, West Yorkshire. The retailer today (Thursday) announced good trading figures up to Christmas.'PICTURE TAKEN ON THURSDAY 3 JANUARY 2013

Picture : Lorne Campbell / Guzelian'The NEXT store in Bradford, West Yorkshire. The retailer today (Thursday) announced good trading figures up to Christmas.'PICTURE TAKEN ON THURSDAY 3 JANUARY 2013

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FASHION chain Next, which has a high profile store at the £350m Trinity Leeds shopping centre, is celebrating a £695m profits haul which puts it on course to overtake Marks & Spencer.

The milestone performance comes after impressive Christmas trading, which helped full-year sales across its Next Directory catalogue and online division leap 12.4 per cent higher while its stores notched up growth of 1.7 per cent. Underlying pre-tax profits were 11.8 per cent higher on the previous year and came after Next upped its profit guidance for the second time in just over two months following the better-than-expected festive period, when it left many competitors in the shade.

It is now firmly set to make more money than high street stalwart M&S for the first time since it launched in 1982, with M&S predicted to see underlying annual pre-tax profits fall to around £628m. Next chairman John Barton said: “The year to January 2014 was a great year for Next.”

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