By Jonathan Davies

Next has reported a 12.5% rise in annual profits after sales surged to £4 billion.

The fashion retailer reported profits of £782m for 2014 with sales up 7%.

Next said it met profit targets, which were revised down in December after an unusually warm autumn hit sales of winter clothing.

But thee retailer is predicted a wider ranging growth for 2015, with profits expected to be between 1.5% and 5.5% higher at £785m - £835m.

The company said that its investment in improved product design had paid off.

Dividend payments were increased by 16% to 150p per share. And share prices rose by 14% during the year, from £62.80 to £71.50.