Next shares perked up 98p to 1940p after turnover at its Directory business rose 9.3% between August and December 24. Home shopping helped to offset a bigger-than-expected 6.9% decline in retail like-for-likes. Next said pre-tax profit for the year should be between £463 million and £473m, at the high end of City estimates.
Given the strength of M&S - which posted a 9.2% rise in clothing sales for the 13 weeks to December 30 - and a strong performance from House of Fraser, Debenhams is likely to have taken a hit. Shares fell 1.5p to 187.75p ahead of its trading statement on January 16.
Alexon revealed that like-for-like sales slipped 4% for the 22 weeks to December 30. The drop would have been worse including footwear arm Dolcis, which has been sold, and high street chain Mandolin, now closed. Analysts say the outlook for next year is much improved. Shares rose 2.75p to 190.5p.