Next has confirmed a change that disappointed many UK shoppers is here to stay.

The clothing and homeware chain has announced that price increases are set to remain in place across all UK stores this year.

Prices will be up by eight per cent in the spring and summer, and will then increase a further six percent in autumn and winter.

It comes as Next announced that both online and retail sales “exceeded our full-price sales expectations, with retail being particularly strong”.

Sales in the Christmas period were also “better than we could anticipated.”

However, Next also forecast lower profits for the next financial year, citing uncertainty over inflation.

They warned: “We remain cautious in our outlook for the year ahead. Initial guidance for the year ending January 2024 is for full price sales to be down -1.5% and profit before tax to be £795m, down -7.6% versus the current year."

“Markdown stock and sales were much higher than last year, mainly as a result of the exceptionally low surplus stock levels last year.”

Speaking to the PA news agency, chief executive Lord Simon Wolfson said festive trading was given a boost by pent-up demand after an unseasonably warm autumn.

But he added that consumer spending was also better than predicted in the face of painful cost pressures.

He said: “Employment has held up very strongly – that’s unusual in a recession.

“That has given people the confidence to spend through the Christmas period.”

He said shoppers were also dipping into savings built up in the pandemic, while also keeping a tight rein on their energy usage to try to keep bills down.

Next also put its better-than-forecast performance down to the fact that it under-estimated the negative impact of Covid-19 on its stores last year as well as the positive impact of improved stock levels this year.

However, Lord Wolfson warned: “Next year is going to be a difficult year.”