Retailer Next Plc today (May 2nd) reported a 1.4 percent growth in Next brand total sales for the first quarter, consistent with its first half guidance given in March of a growth between 1 percent and 4 percent. The company expects profit for the first half to be ahead of last year.
UK retailer Next Plc today (May 2nd) reported a 1.4 percent growth in Next brand total sales for the first quarter, consistent with its first half guidance given in March of a growth between 1 percent and 4 percent. The company expects profit for the first half to be ahead of last year.
In an interim management statement, the company said total retail sales fell 3.9 pecrent in the 13 weeks ended April 28, while directory sales increased 11.8 percent.
Next said there has been little change in its product costs, gross margins or selling prices in the first quarter and the company expects this to continue into the second quarter.
Stock levels are running slightly ahead of the previous year and consistent with the growth in sales. Directory customer balances have risen with the growth in credit sales and bad debt remains at historically low levels.
Next said the second quarter’s retail comparatives are much less demanding than the first’s, as exceptionally warm weather and the Royal Wedding boosted sales in last year’s first quarter.
Looking ahead to the first half, the company said, “We remain confident that NEXT Brand sales for the first half will remain within our +1% to +4% guidance range and we are forecasting that profit for the first half will be ahead of last year.”
For the full year, basis earnings per share are estimated to grow 4 percent to 13 percent. Profit before tax is expected in the range of 560 million pounds to 610 million pounds. Brand sales are estimated to grow 1 percent to 4 percent. The company intends to buy back up to 200 million pounds of shares from surplus cash flows.
The cumulative effects of intended share buybacks and cash generation, together with lower corporation tax rates, will increase this year’s earnings per share by 6 percent more than the growth in profit, compared to the previous 5 percent.