Leading clothing retailer Next Plc on Thursday posted a 22 per cent surge in annual pre-tax profits to £266 million ($378.5m) and an 18 per cent jump in sales to £1.87 billion, compared to the year-ago period.

The company, one of Britain#;s largest retailers, said those figures were at the top end of analysts#; estimates and added that like-for-like sales are up seven per cent for the first seven weeks of the new fiscal year.