independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Next raises forecast after Christmas sales exceed expectations

Retailer Next has raised its full-year forecast after holiday sales “significantly” exceeded the company’s expectations.

Pretax profit for the year ending this month will be £684m to £700m, the company said in a statement today.

Shares in the firm opened up 8pc this morning on the news and hit a record £60.

Last October the company forecast pretax earnings of £650m to £680m, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The retailer waited until after Christmas to start its traditional clearance sale, with shoppers lining up outside stores overnight to catch the best of the bargains.

Competitors such as Debenhams and Marks & Spencer Group began offering discounts before the holiday, with the former saying this week that profit will drop in the first half of the financial year as the price cuts eroded profitability.

“The step-up in Christmas trade was mainly down to improvements in our seasonal knitwear, nightwear and gift offer,” Next said in the statement. “In addition, increased confidence in online deliveries meant that more customers continued to trade with Next Directory right up to the weekend before Christmas.”

Total sales under the Next brand rose 12pc in the period ended Dec. 24., compared with the 3.8pc median estimate of 11 analysts compiled by Bloomberg News.

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