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Solid sales narrows profit guidance for Next

Next has narrowed its profit guidance after reporting a 2.7% sales increase in its third quarter as strong sales in late September and early October made up for an unusually quiet August.

For the 13 weeks to October 27, its directory business fell, climbing 5.6% compared to year-to-date rise of 10.4%. Next said improvements made to delivery within its directory business at the start of the year had “annualised”.

However retail strengthened in the period, with sales up 1.1% compared to 0.5% over the year-to-date.

The retailer added that “overall sales performance remains volatile”, however it expected total sales in the final quarter to increase broadly in line with its year-to-date performance.

“Accordingly we are narrowing our full year sales guidance to a range of +3.0% to +4.5%,” said Next in its statement.“The narrower sales guidance range and greater certainty on costs for the remainder of this year enable us to give a more precise profit range.”

As a result of greater certainty, Next is now forecasting pre-tax profits of £590-£620 for the full financial year to end-January 2013. Previously it estimated a broader ranging £575m to £620m.

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