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Next has reported a sharp rise in online sales over the Christmas period, while trading at its stores declined.

In a continuation of recent trends, its online sales rose 15.2% in the period from 28 October to 29 December compared with a year earlier. By contrast, sales at its stores fell 9.2%.

Next said strong sales during the three weeks prior to Christmas and good sales during half-term in October had made up for “disappointing” sales in November.

The retailer expects an annual profit of £723m, slightly lower than its previous forecast of £727m.

It blamed the lower forecast on strong sales of less profitable items including beauty products and personalised gifts.

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