Next sales top guidance
Next, Britain’s second-largest clothing retailer, posted first-quarter sales slightly ahead of its own guidance yesterday, benefiting from the earlier launch of a summer catalogue and warmer weather.
Shares in the firm were up 3.1pc in early trading, the second-biggest rise on Britain’s FTSE 100 index of blue-chip companies, after Next also maintained its annual sales and profit forecasts and said it would pay another special dividend of £90m (€124m). Shares in bigger rival Marks & Spencer were up 1.9pc.
Next has outperformed peers for a decade due to a strong online offer, store openings and diversification into new product areas, such as homewares, as well as overseas. The firm, which trades from over 500 stores in Britain and Ireland and almost 200 in other countries as well as the directory catalogue and internet business, said full price sales rose 3.2pc in the 13 weeks to April 25