Leading fashion chain Next Plc on Thursday announced a 24 per cent surge in first half pre-tax profit to £115.8 million from £93m in the year-ago period.

The country's third biggest apparel retailer with more than 300 stores said its sees a strong second half as same-store sales in the first six weeks since the first half are up 5.7 per cent and total sales up 14.7 per cent.

Next said in a statement sales at its retail division soared 17 per cent in the first half and profits jumped 27 per cent with same-store sales up seven per cent. Its mail-order Next directory unit saw sales surge 32 per cent and profits rocket 39 per cent.

"We believe that we have good growth potential in a part of the market which itself will also grow in the long term," the company said.

"The women's, men's and children's ranges have achieved solid growth. Sales of products for the home continue to show exceptional growth as we improve and extend our ranges into larger departments within new stores.

"We believe that these core areas will continue to provide most of our growth in the coming years."