Next Plc 8-week Full Price Sales Up From 2019; Lifts FY21 Forecast; Sees Growth In FY22

Next Plc (NXT.L) reported Thursday that its full price sales in the eight weeks to December 25 were up 20 percent from two years ago. This was 70 million pounds higher than previous guidance for the period.

In the fourth quarter to December 25, total Product full price sales grew 21 percent compared to 2019. Total online sales were up 45 percent.

The company said it was expecting sales growth in the fourth quarter to be weaker than the third quarter, however, a strong revival in NEXT branded adult formal and occasionwear significantly improved sales throughout the final period.

Looking ahead for fiscal 2021, the company increased profit before tax guidance by 22 million pounds to 822 million pounds, which would be up 9.8 percent versus two years ago.

Earnings per share is now expected to be 530 pence, up 12.2 percent from 2019, compared to previous estimate of 516.9 pence. Full-year full price sales are now expected to reach 4.3 billion pounds, up 12.8 percent, compared to previous estimate of 4.2 billion pounds, up 11 percent.

Further, the company said its initial guidance for the year ending January 2023 is for full price sales to be up 7 percent versus the current year ending January 2022. Profit before tax for the new year will be up 4.6 percent at 860 million pounds.

The Board is declaring a further special dividend of 160p per share to be paid at the end of January 2022. The company said it intends to return to pre-pandemic ordinary dividend cycle in the year ahead.

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