Next surprises analysts with positive outlook

Friday, 01 November 2013
ANALYSIS_ British high street champion Next has positively surprised the market by returning to growth after a weak start to the year. The retailer said trading had been volatile but reported total sales up 4.3 percent percent in the 13 weeks to October 26.

Next now expects pre-tax profit to come in at a bracket of 650 to 680 million pounds, this is a 9.4 percent year-on-year increase. The apparel retailer previously issued pre-tax profits guidance in the range of 635 to 675 million pounds.

The sales forecast was also upped, from between 1.5 percent and 3.5 percent to between 2 percent and 3.7 percent. Commenting the quarterly figures, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Freddie George said the latest sales improvement was "a positive surprise given the warm weather".

Next benefited from a strong performance from its Directory business, where sales increased 10.7 percent. Sales at brick and mortar shops rose 0.4 percent. Sales in the third quarter to October 26 were up 4.3 percent.

Next's better-than-expected results cheer markets

The rise comes after sales fell 0.9 percent for the first half-year to the end of July, weighted by the freezing spring weather. Next said overall sales were up 3 percent for the year to date, including 1.9 percent from new openings.

Equities research analysts at Societe Generale boosted their price target on shares of Next Plc (LON:NXT) from 5,500 pence to 6,000 pence in a research note issued to investors on Thursday. The firm currently has a ‘hold’ rating on the stock and their price objective points to a potential upside of 10.09 percent from the stock’s previous close.

Cheered with the solid quarterly results, Next shares jumped 5 percent as the company also lifted its profits forecast for the year. Shares of Next opened at 5470 pence on Thursday, compared to a 52-week low of 3,538 pence and a one year high of 5,270 pence. The company’s market cap is 8.229 billion pounds.

Related News