• Group sales up 4.3%
  • Directory sales climb 10.7%
  • Store sales edge up 0.4%
  • Ups full-year sales and EPS guidance
Sales at traditional Next stores edged up 0.4% in the quarter

Sales at traditional Next stores edged up 0.4% in the quarter

UK clothing retailer Next Plc has recorded third-quarter sales above expectations and upped its earnings guidance for the full year.

The retail group, which today (30 September) said trading had remained volatile throughout the period, reported a total sales increase of 4.3% in the 13 weeks to 26 October. This was just above Next's second-half guidance range of 1%-4%.

Next Directory, which includes e-commerce, saw sales climb 10.7%, while sales at traditional stores edged up 0.4%.

The retailer said better visibility of full year costs means it has been able to further narrow sales, profit and EPS guidance for the full year.

The group now expects a 2013-14 pre-tax profit of GBP650m (US$1.04bn)-GBP680m, a year-on-year increase of 4.6%-9.4%. It had previously forecast a pre-tax profit of GBP635m-GBP675m. EPS is expected to be up 15%-21% from 12%-19%, previously.

Sales are guided at 2%-3.75% from a previous forecast of 1.5%-3.5%.

Anusha Couttigane, fashion consultant at Conlumino believes Next's results are encouraging, but said the past few months have been far more volatile for the usually consistent performer.

"The retailer's week by week sales indicate that the final weeks of August and September were tough trading periods, with August in particular suffering from low transitional stock levels as Britain enjoyed the warm weather."

However, she added: "Next's outlook remains strong, with the retailer raising its full year estimates from +3.5% to +3.75% at the upper end. This confidence is underpinned by the positive reception of its newest collection."