Clothes giant pushing ahead with expansion
Next, the UK's second-largest clothing retailer, plans to plough ahead with store expansion despite a tough consumer climate and a booming online market.
About 1.4-million sq ft of new space has been identified for future development, the company said yesterday as it released first-half results.
That would represent growth of about 20pc at a time when town centres are shrinking.
Store expansion also dovetails with the company's online business, with 38pc of orders from home being collected from outlets, it said.
"The addition of new retail space sounds counter-intuitive in an environment of declining like-for-like sales and growth in internet sales," Next said. "However, we believe that investment makes sense."
The company said first-half revenue rose 2.2pc to £1.68bn (€2bn). Operating profit rose 7.2pc to £285m.
Next said that since the credit crunch began, consumers had reduced their borrowings on credit cards, but this now appeared to be coming to an end. (Bloomberg)