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High street stalwart Next is curbing its enthusiasm.

The company met some of its own grimmer expectations in the three months ending in April, with full-price sales shrinking by 3 per cent, and total sales declining by 2.5 per cent, led by a hefty pullback in its retail business, where full-price sales declined by over 8 per cent.

Now, it is trimming its more optimistic longer-term views, taking the upper end of its full-year pre-tax profit forecast down to £740m, from a rosier previous expectation of £780m.

“The UK consumer environment remains challenging, particularly in the clothing and homeware markets, and real wage growth is now close to zero,” it noted in its trading statement.

The caution follows the retailer’s first drop in annual profits for eight years in 2016.

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