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Next is trading at 6060p, up 9% after the firm revealed an 11.9% increase in sales between 1 November 2013 and Christmas Eve, which was significantly above expectations. The firm’s financial year runs until 25 January, and it has increased its full-year profit forecast to between £684 and £700 million.
The fashion house has also paid a one-off dividend of 50p, a further sign that the company is confident about future earnings. The move makes the company more attractive to institutional investors who also seek investment income.
Next reported a 7.7% increase in store sales, but it was online business operations that truly shined; the company reported a 21% increase in online revenue in the run up to Christmas. This was in line with the rest of the retail industry.
This is the second time that Next has increased its profit forecast in the past six months; in October it raised its forecast to between £650 and £680 million.
The share price is in an uptrend and any pull-backs could provide a buying opportunity.