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Next ups full year guidance after strong first half

Next has raised its full-year profit guidance following a solid performance in the first half of the year, boosted by growth in its directory business.

The retailer reported that total sales were up 4.5% excluding VAT, compared to last year for the 26 weeks to July 28.

Retail sales were up 0.2% when compared to the same period last year but the real winner was Next’s directory business, which includes sales from its online and catalogue channels, which was up 13.3% compared to last year and ahead of the retailer’s guidance of 9-12%.

As a result of what it described as “another strong all round performance”, Next increased and narrowed its sales and profit guidance ranges for the full-year.

“We now anticipate brand sales growth of 2% to 4.5% and group profit before tax of £575m to £620m (previously £560m to £610m),” said the retailer in a statement.

Growth in in pre-tax profit has been forecast to grow 0.8% to £575m if the company hits the low end of expectations and 8.7% to £620m at the upper end of expectations.

Next added that retail sales from its new store space, helped to offset lower retail sales from its like-for-like stores, with net sales from new space up by 2.5%.

Total stock for Next’s end of season Sale was up 8.7% with cash recovery in line with the company’s forecast.

Next will report its interim results for the 26 weeks to July 28 on September 13.

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