Thursday 29 September 2016

Next nudges up full-year profit forecasts

James Davey

Published 28/10/2015 | 09:15

Shoppers pass in front of Next clothing store on Oxford Street in central London, January 4, 2012. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly
Shoppers pass in front of Next clothing store on Oxford Street in central London, January 4, 2012. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly

Next, Britain's second largest clothing retailer by value, posted third-quarter sales in line with guidance and edged up its full year sales and profit forecasts, despite a warning that consumer demand remained volatile.

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Next, which trades from more than 500 shops in Britain and Ireland, about 200 mainly franchised stores overseas and its Directory catalogue and internet business, said on Wednesday full-price sales rose 6pc in the quarter to Oct. 24.

That outcome is just above the mid-point of its second-half guidance range of up 3.5 percent to 7.5 percent and compares to first half growth of 3.5 percent.

Full price sales at Next's stores rose 5.9pc. They were up 6.2pc at the Directory business. Trade in September was strong while October was relatively subdued.

Next has outperformed peers, including market leader Marks & Spencer, for a decade due to a strong online business, rapid expansion at home and abroad and diversification into new product areas, such as homewares.

"With the share price up 20pc plus over the last year compared to a flat wider FTSE-100 index, the valuation is seen as arguably up with events near to medium term," said Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers.

Next forecast a 2015-16 pretax profit of 810 million pounds to 845 million pounds. It was previously forecasting 805 million pounds to 845 million pounds.

Full-year sales growth was forecast at up 4-6pc. Previously it was 3.5-6pc.

The firm has a well-established policy of returning surplus cash to shareholders through share buybacks or special dividends. As announced in its July update it will pay a special dividend of 60 pence per share on Nov. 2.

Reuters

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