Next has lifted the lower end of its full-year guidance

Next has lifted the lower end of its full-year guidance

UK fashion retailer Next Plc has lifted the lower end of its full-year outlook, after booking sales gains during the third quarter. 

The company said Next brand full price sales were up 6% during the three months to 24 October. Retail sales increased 5.9% year-on-year, while Directory posted 6.2% growth. 

Highlighting the volatility of consumer demand, the retailer said: “September looks particularly strong but sales were flattered by poor comparative weeks last year.”

Next now expects group pre-tax profit to range from GBP810m (US$1.24bn) to GBP845m, up from its earlier guidance of GBP805m-GBP845m. Full price total brand sales growth is now forecast to be between 4% and 6%, compared to 3.5%-6% previously. 

Bernstein analyst Jamie Merriman expects “little change” to consensus on the slight narrowing of the guidance range, adding that “while investors will be satisfied with Next’s Q3 performance, this will not be enough to drive expectations higher”. 

Analysts at Hargreaves Lansdown added: “Next is an extremely well run business with a proven ability to grow shareholder value.”

“Over the long run, we believe this could stand investors in good stead; in the near term the company should benefit from lower oil prices and rising wages, which puts more money into consumers' pockets.”