Next brand sales edged up 1.4% in its first quarter despite its declining retail performance.

Total retail sales dipped 3.9% with like-for-likes estimated to have dropped 6.8% in the 13 weeks to April 28, however directory sales, which rose 11.8%, powered Next’s performance.

The first quarter sales rise is set against strong comparatives as the optimism around the Royal Wedding boosted last year’s performance.

The retailer is confident that its first half sales will be within its guidance of 1% and 4%. It forecasts first year profits will be ahead of last year and expects it to be within its £560m to £610m guidance for the full year.

Next is to continue with its share buy back programme and intends to invest £200m over the year.