Next made almost £170m last year from interest charges on its online and catalogue credit service.

The high street retailer’s accounts reveal 2.7 million of Next Directory’s 3.6 million shoppers used unsecured credit from Next to make purchases via its online and catalogue business, according to the Guardian.

Customers were billed an annual percentage rate (APR) of 24.99% if they did not pay off the outstanding balance on the required date each month.

In contrast, the APR on bank credit cards is typically between 18% and 20%.

Income Next makes from interest accounts for almost a third of the profit Next made on sales to the 2.7 million Directory shoppers who used unsecured credit.

In the year to January Next made a total of £166.4m from interest, up 9.6% from the £151.8m it made the year before.

Last year Next made £795m in pre-tax profits as online sales rose 12%.

During its most recent financial year Next wrote off £24m of customer debt in the year out of a total of £853m.

Next told The Guardian the company offers a “competitive rate” of interest and added the £166.4m does not take into account the cost of running the credit service, which includes sending bills and third-party credit checks.