Next, the high street fashion and home retailer, has reported a rise in first half profits.
Pre-tax profits rose 8.2 per cent higher to £271.8million for the six months to July.
Revenues also grew more than two per cent to £1.68billion thanks to new store openings and soaring online sales.
Next says it has plans to open another 1.4million square feet of new space over the next few years to add to its 541 stores in the UK and Ireland, if it can get planning permission.
The retailer said: ‘The addition of new retail space sounds counter-intuitive in an environment of declining like-for-like sales and growth in internet sales. But we believe that investment makes sense.’
Next said new stores earn net profit margins of 22 per cent, and pay back the capital investment in 19 months.
The retailer has planning permission for 11 large stores typically incorporating fashion, home and garden products, and another 18 are in the pipeline.
It said new stores are widely used by its online customers, with more than a third of internet purchases collected from stores.
Sales at its Next Directory business, which includes online orders, grew 8.3 per cent to £597.6million.