By Jonathan Davies

Fashion and homeware retailer Next has reported a 19% increase in profits for the first half of the year.

Next reported profits of £324m for the first six months of 2014, a 19% rise on the same period last year.

The retailer saw particularly strong growth in in-store sales, with a 23% rise.

It added that sales for the full year are expected to be up by between 7 and 10%.

James McGregor, director of retail consultants, Retail Remedy, said:

"Next's success comes down to the simplicity with which it approaches fashion retail.

"It knows its target customers inside out and remains acutely focused on delivering what they want.

"It never rests on its laurels, either, and has recently moved from a two season cycle to a four season cycle.

"Next also responds to the changing lifestyles of its core customers. To this end, it has extended its price hierarchy, offering higher end items to customers who can now afford to spend more.

"Next Directory is a robust online service that dovetails perfectly with the bricks and mortar business. In this sense, Next is arguably one of the most progressive modern retailers."

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