By Jonathan Davies

Next has seen shares rise by 2% after reporting a rise in sales in the first six months of the year.

The fashion retailer, which has become considered as a key indicator of the retail sector, posted a better-than-expected rise in sales of 3.5% in the half-year to 25 July.

As a result, Next also raised its profit forecast for the full financial year. Its forecast is now 1.9% higher at £825 million than original estimates.

Perhaps surprisingly given the modern ways of shopping, catalogue sales accounted for the majority of the growth. In-store sales were up just 0.8% compared with 7.5% growth in sales from its Next Directory catalogue.

Overall, Next said the heatwave towards the end of the period helped to boost sales of summer lines.