Next sales jumped 2.3% in its first half as it revised up full-year profit forecasts after adding £10m to its earnings through more full-price sales and lower markdowns.

Next's brand sales variance by week compared with 2012

In the 26 weeks to July 27, sales at Next were driven by its directory business, which was up 8.3%, while its retail sales slipped 0.9%. Overall sales came in at the mid-point of its forecasted 1% to 4% growth.

In the weeks before the Sale up to July 12, turnover was up 3.7%, again driven by its directory business, which surged ahead 9.9% while sales across its stores were flat.

In both occasions 1.8% of sales were down to new stores.

Next has revised full-year profit guidance up as a result of its increased profits in the period. Now the retailer expects to generate pre-tax profit at year-end of between £635m to £675m, up 2.2% to 8.6% on last year. Previous forecasts were to generate pre-tax profit of £615m to £665m, a 1% fall to a 7% rise in sales year on year.

Next said: “Full-price sales for the first 26 weeks were in the top half of our full-year forecast. More importantly, the reduction in residual stock resulted in much lower markdown costs. The combined effect of higher full-price sales and lower markdown has added £10m to our first-half profits and accordingly we are raising and narrowing our guidance for the full year.”

Next said a smaller Sale ensured full-price revenues were better than the headline figure. The retailer went into the Sale with 20% less stock than last year and said clearance rates “improved” while markdown sales were down 13%.

Next said the second quarter of the year was as volatile as the first quarter as consumers shop more “spontaneously” due to school holidays and the weather.