Next, the retailer of fashion and home goods has announced its results a week earlier, delivering some good news to the high street. The retailer said total sales were up by 1.4 per cent and its online Directory business has seen sales increase by 1.1 per cent.

In its first half trading statement, Next said that in the 25 week period from January 25th to July 18, 2009 it had seen total retail sales increase by 1.4 per cent, urging the company to bring its trading statement forwards by a week. Total brand sales increased by 1.3 per cent.

Next said the improved sales were due to the good weather experienced throughout spring and the early part of summer. Also its end of season sale demonstrated good control of inventory by the retail chain, it went into the sale with 19 per cent less stock to sell at sale prices than in previous first half periods.

Next Directory, the paid for catalogue and online division of Next had a sales increase of 1.1 per cent as Next, like most retailers witnesses more and more customers switch to online consumption.

Although cautious about labelling the figures as evidence of an upturn, Next is clearly confident as it announced plans to open 13 more Home stores retailing only home wares. But Next added a note of warning, "We expect consumers to continue to moderate their spending in the second half...we believe that many will continue to save rather than spend the benefits of lower mortgage costs. As a result we expect the consumer environment in the second half to be similar to that of the first half," Next said in its trading statement.

The latest results from Next are in line with recent reports from retailers such as Mothercare, which has seen a small growth in sales, especially online. The British Retail Consortium also reported that June was a healthy month, especially for retailers with a strong online presence.