Next raises annual profit forecast after strong December

Friday 03 January 2014 10.54
Next has 29 shops in Ireland and around 700 worldwide
Next has 29 shops in Ireland and around 700 worldwide

Next, Britain's second largest clothing retailer, raised its annual profit forecast after fourth quarter sales came in significantly ahead of its previous guidance.

The firm has said it expected a year to end-January 2014 pretax profit of £684-700 million.

Its previous forecast was £650-680 million.

Next, which unlike rivals has a long standing policy of never going on sale before Christmas, said total sales rose 11.9% in the 1 November to 24 December period and are now up 5% year to date.

That compares with a rise of 4.3% in its third quarter and previous company guidance for full year sales growth of 2-3.75%.

Next was again reliant on a strong performance from its Directory internet and catalogue business, where sales soared 21%.

Sales at its 700 stores worldwide – including 29 in Ireland - increased by 7.7%.