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Next lifts full-year profit forecast

Next has raised its full-year profit guidance by 1.9% from £810m to £825m following a better-than-expected performance in the first half.

Full-price sales were up by 3.5% in the 26 weeks to July 25, beating the 0% to 3% forecast Next issued in March.

Of that, 1.7% came from the opening of profitable new stores, but Next added: “We believe the improvements experienced at the end of the season were mainly driven by warmer weather.”

Retail sales were up 0.8%, while Next Directory sales rose 7.5%. Total sales including discounted stock were up 3.3%.

Total stock for the end-of-season Sale was up 4.8% on last year. Clearance rates were lower than last year but in line with internal forecasts.

Next expects its full-year sales to rise by between 3.5% and 6%. Another 60p per share special dividend will be paid to shareholders on November 2.

There is no change to the second half guidance. The interims will be released on September 10.

@KirstyMcGregor

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