Next ups profit expectations amid rise in full-price sales

High street retailer Next has upped its profit expectations for the year after it shifted more full-price stock than expected.

Shares in the company jumped 7.5% in early trading on Wednesday after it said group profit before tax was now forecast to come in at £725 million, up from £715 million.

If achieved, the figure will mark profit growth of 0.3% for the brand, versus a previously expected decline of 1.1%.

The upgrade comes on the back of an update for the 26 weeks to July 27, which showed full price sales were up 4.3% on last year, outstripping expectations.

The group estimated that full-price sales for the whole year will grow 3.6%, rather than 1.7% as previously guided.

Next said it went into its end-of-season sale in July with 1% less surplus stock than last year.

Although sales in shops were down 3.9% in the first half, the rate of decline was slower than last year and online growth continued to be in the double-digits at 11.9%.

The market responded positively to the news, with analysts at Shore Capital commenting: “Next remains a well-managed company with tight stock and cost controls.

“These are good results despite relatively tough comparatives and there are few retailers with upwards momentum in guidance, despite the uncertain outlook in terms of consumer sentiment.”

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