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Royal wedding, hot weather boosts Next clothing

LONDON, May 4 – British clothes retailer Next said on Wednesday that its first-quarter sales increased by 5.2 percent as hot weather and the royal wedding fuelled consumer spending.

"This was significantly better than expected," Next said in a statement.

"We estimate that at least 2.5 percent of the over-performance came as a result of exceptionally warm weather over Easter and spending in anticipation of the royal wedding."

Britain enjoyed an unusually hot April ahead of the marriage between Prince William and Kate Middleton on the 29th of the month.

Following the strong sales data for the 13 weeks to April 30, Next upgraded its full-year profits forecast.

The group that has more than 500 stores across Britain and Ireland said it expected pre-tax profits of between £535 million and £585 million (595 million euros and 650 million euros, $884 million and $966 million) in 2011, up about £15 million from a guidance given in March.

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