Despite booking a 9% rise in full-year underlying pre-tax profit, UK fashion retailer Next Plc was forced to admit that it had suffered a slow start to the new year. Here is a flavour of what leading retail watchers are saying about Next's results.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Richard Chamberlain
"Next lowered its sales guidance for the coming year slightly yesterday and cold weather has impacted recent trading. However we expect trading to pick up once temperatures normalise. Next also reassured as to cash generation and the outlook for future share repurchases although it may moderate its purchases if the share price rises much above GBP45, as the implied rate of return would be less.

"The full year results presentation gave a good level of detail about past and future improvements to the business and explained how Next should continue to benefit from upgrading its space and from its new delivery options for Next Directory.

"With relatively high exposure to the structural growth of online clothing sales, good detail focus and a strong track record on execution, Next offers amongst the lowest operational risk and highest amount of earnings visibility in the sector."

Investec analyst Bethany Hocking
"FY14E guidance: Sales have been slightly lowered to +1% to +4% year-on-year, vs +1.5% to +4% previously. Profit before tax had been guided to increase broadly in line with sales - this has now been widened to -1% to +7% - implying GBP615m-GBP665m. We are not inclined to change our GBP649m profit before tax forecast at this stage, although will confirm post the meeting.

"The warning that "the first few weeks of the year have been quiet" has negative read across to M&S and Debenhams and sees Next sales growth year-to-date currently running at around +1%. Part of this may be due to the unseasonal weather, and management "expect this situation to improve."

Conlumino research director Matt Piner
"With another strong year in the bag, Next's attention is very much on getting the right mix between stores and online - one of the crucial factors in its recent success. Although directory continued to drive growth in 2012/13, with sales up 9.5% compared to flat sales through the physical business, the gap is narrowing and the portfolio remains largely profitable, with 89% of revenue coming from stores that deliver a more than 15% profit contribution on sales. Moreover, stores and online continue to become increasingly in inter-dependant; for example, over 20% of directory sales are delivered through stores and over 60% of returns come back that way."

Zolfo Cooper director Dan Coen
"Next's business management disciplines should act as a benchmark for others to follow. Solid results today remind us that Next is a very well run business that knows how to control costs, manage its stock, and use discounting skilfully.

"Next could soon become one of Britain's most diverse retail groups. Last year the chain diversified by opening a handful of garden centres after a pilot store proved successful. The retailer is also looking to open additional sites to expand this new offering. There's no reason why Next shouldn't thrive in this sector, just as it has in the fashion sector."