Next Plc. (NXT.L) Thursday reported higher pre-tax profit for the first half of the year and an accompanying rise in dividend of almost 13 percent. Looking ahead, and with weak sales from August still in mind, the British retailer said it remains
cautious about the economic outlook, but confides in meeting the expectative.
has released its Interim Results for the six months ended 31st July 2012, reporting rise in profit after from continuing operations on higher revenues. Strong performance of its Directory was key to such a positive start, as this division saw sales up by 13.3 percent “and 3 percent ahead of our budget,” concreted the company in a statement. Profit in this business unite also rose, by 22.1 percent.
The fashion group reported profit from continuing operations after tax for the six-month period ended 31st July 2012 of 186.20 million pound, higher than profit of 168.0 million pound reported for the corresponding six-month period in the previous year.
Total Revenue from continuing operations for the first half of 2012 increased to 1.64 billion pound from 1.56 billion pounds reported for the same period in the previous year. On a continuing operations basis, pre-tax profit increased to 245 million pounds from 228 million pounds. Underlying pre-tax profit totaled 251.3 million pounds in the just concluded period.
Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations increased to 112.8 pence from 96.1 pence per share reported for the same period in the previous year. Also, the retailer increased its interim dividend by 12.7 percent or 3.5 pence to 31 pence. It expects to increase full- year dividend in line with its growth in underlying earnings per share.
Looking ahead, the company remains cautious about the economic outlook amid disappointing sales in an unusual August and early September. Nevertheless, they are sure of being on track to meet the extectations: "We are on track to meet market expectations and maintain the full year financial guidance given in our August trading statement, with sales, profits and earnings per share all moving forward on last year."