Next profits on target.
Total sales over the past three months were at the top end of expectations at 4.1%. Like-for-like sales were up by 2.2% including direct sales. The Directory sales forecast for the current year has been revised up by 1% as a result, though the retail forecast remains unchanged. The new sales forecasts are a range of minus 2.5% to 0.5% for Next Retail and 0.5 to 3.5% including direct sales. Next Directory revenues are now forecast in a range of 2-5%, up from 2-4% previously.
The group said in its statement, 'We remain very cautious in our outlook for the year ahead. Prior year comparisons become more demanding as the year progresses and we anticipate that a new Government will have to take action to tackle the budget deficit. Whatever form this action takes, it is likely that it will act to restrain growth in consumer spending. However, these factors were taken into consideration when we presented our results in March and nothing new has occurred since then to diminish our expectation for another year of growth in sales, profits, EPS and dividends.'
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