Next Plc H1 Pretax Profit Rises; Lowers Full Year Profit Guidance

Next Plc (NXT.L) said it had a good first half, with overall sales ahead of expectations, driven by the over-performance of Retail stores and a strong performance from the formal parts of clothing ranges. Sales were stronger than anticipated and they delivered better than expected profits, the Group noted. Profit before tax was up 15.5% versus 2021 and up 22.4% versus 2019. Full price sales excluding total platform sales, were up 12.4% versus 2021 and up 22.3% versus 2019. Total trading sales including markdown sales were up 12.8% versus 2021 and up 21.3% versus 2019.

The Group reported that its August trade was below its expectations and cost of living pressures are set to rise in the coming months. Sales in September have improved. The Group has decided to reduce its forecast for full price sales in the second half from an increase of 1% to a decline of 1.5% versus last year.

First half profit before tax increased to 400.6 million pounds from 346.7 million pounds, prior year. Earnings per share was 260.7 pence compared to 223.8 pence. Revenue increased to 2.38 billion pounds from 2.12 billion pounds, last year.

The Group has reduced profit guidance for the full year to 840 million pounds, from prior guidance of 860 million pounds. Earnings per share is forecast to be 545.1 pence, revised from prior guidance of 569.1 pence.

For the year to January 2023, the Group declared an interim ordinary dividend of 66 pence to be paid on 3 January 2023. The Group intends to recommend to shareholders a final dividend no lower than the 127 pence paid in August.

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