Fashion chain Next, which has three branches in York, is set to see annual profits overtake those of Marks & Spencer for the first time in its history after notching up a stellar Christmas sales performance.

The group is now expecting pre-tax profits for the year to January 25 to surge by up to 12.6 per cent after hiking its forecast for the second time in just over two months.

It has joined the list of Christmas retail winners so far after hailing “significantly” better than expected sales, up 11.9 per cent between November 1 and Christmas Eve.