Next raises profit guidance as first-half sales jump

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Fashion retailer Next today raised its full-year profit forecast following a strong rise in first-half sales.

The group now expects to deliver a pre-tax profit of between £775 million and £815m for the year to January, up from its previous guidance range of £750m to £790m.

The move follows a 10.7 per cent jump in total sales during the six months to 26 July, boosted by a 16.2 per cent surge in takings at the chain’s Directory home shopping business.

Next, headed by chief executive Lord Wolfson, also lifted its annual sales growth guidance to between 7 and 10 per cent, ahead of the 5.5 to 9.5 per cent forecast it gave in April.

It said: “It might appear overly cautious to forecast a full-year sales range which is below our current rate of growth. However, last year’s first two quarters were hampered by a particularly cold spring and Easter which presented a soft comparison for this year.”

Next is scheduled to release its first-half results on 11 September.