Concerns remain despite Next profits

Fashion retailer Next enjoyed a 2.9 per cent rise in pre-Christmas sales but remains cautious for year ahead

Fashion retailer Next enjoyed a 2.9 per cent rise in pre-Christmas sales but remains cautious for year ahead

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FASHION chain Next will dazzle investors with a bumper profit haul this week, but the City will be listening for signs that its concerns for the current year have eased.

The retail bellwether, whose chairman is John Barton, upped guidance by £5 million when it revealed in December that full-price sales in the run-up to Christmas had risen by 2.9 per cent – but at the same time warned it was “very cautious” about the year ahead. Pre-tax profits are expected to be 11.5 per cent higher at £775m.

However, it went into its end-of-season sale with “significantly more stock than last year”.

Numis analyst Matthew Taylor said there was “limited scope for surprises” in the full-year numbers, with the final result likely to reflect the performance of the remaining winter sale period.

He noted: “The group may update on progress to date and continue to flag that its first-half sales performance is likely to be sluggish against the extremely favourable weather trends over spring/summer 2014.”

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