Next ups full year profit guidance after strong third quarter as it pays out 60 pence per share dividend

 
Catherine Neilan
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High street retailer Next has raised its guidance for full year profit after another strong quarter.

The figures

Next's retail arm grew sales 5.9 per cent in the 13 weeks to 28 October, while its directory division grew by 6.2 per cent, giving the group as a whole a six per cent increase in sales. Year to date, turnover is up 4.4 per cent.

That means the company has increased its group profit expectations to between £810m and £845m, up 3.6 per cent and eight per cent on last year. It had previously had its lower end at £805m.

Marks & Spencer's biggest rival is planning a special dividend of 60 pence per share on 2 November, which will be paid to shareholders who were on the register on 9 October.

Why it's interesting

Next is proving to all the other retailers out there that it doesn't have to be blood on the high street. Solid product and regular end of season sales mean that the customer still has faith in the price they are paying for an item.

Having said that, this time last year Next was forced into the unusual position of issuing a profit warning as warm weather slowed sales. But after Christmas it was able to revise its forecast back up, cheering investors after a positive festive trading period.

What they said

September looks particularly strong but sales were flattered by poor comparative weeks last year. Retail had a good third quarter but its comparatives were much less demanding than Directory.

In short

Next looks set to keep its crown as the strongest performing high street retailer heading into Christmas.