Analysts react to Next's share price slide

 
Helen Cahill
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Next reported its first fall in profits since the financial crisis in March (Source: Next)

Next has become the top FTSE 100 faller this morning, with its share price dropping by more than six per cent, after it reported flagging sales and trimmed its full year guidance.

The downbeat update comes after the retailer posted its first drop in profits since the financial crisis in March.

"Whichever way it turns, Next just can't seem to catch a break at the moment," said George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Read more: Next trims its full year guidance as sales continue to suffer

"Online competition is ratcheting up, weaker sterling is increasing costs, and conditions on the UK high street are far from favourable. That's not to say Next is purely a victim of circumstance. The fact that current ranges are described as 'not where they need to be' isn't doing the group any favours."

Next shares appear to be on course for their worst performance since January, when the retailer's share price dropped by 14 per cent in reaction to a profit warning.

Neil Wilson, analyst at ETX Capital, said the "bright spot" was the performance of Next's online business, and the fact that it has delivered £255m in surplus cash, allowing it to declare a special dividend.

Richard Chamberlain, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said:

We think Next has been finding it challenging managing the balance between having faster decision-making in the business and enough commercial, wearable product. It may also be being impacted by tougher price competition in the mid-market.

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