Next ups forecasts after revenue boost

NEXT yesterday revised its full-year profit forecasts upwards after seeing a 4.1 per cent increase in total sales in the first quarter.

The retailer’s Directory was mainly responsible for the positive figure after the catalogue recorded a 7.2 per cent jump.

High street sales were up by only 2.8 per cent.

Like for like sales across shops and online were 2.2 per cent up.

The company said it was in line to top City profit forecasts – which have been estimated at £525-565m – for the full year. A growth in dividend is also anticipated as the company benefits from improving consumer confidence.

However, Next urged caution in what it said would be a difficult year.

Chief executive Simon Wolfson said: “The sensible thing to do is to budget very cautiously for the rest of this year.”

He added: “Whether growth [in the UK economy] turns negative again is almost impossible to predict. But the one thing we can say with certainty is that whatever action is taken to curtail the [budget] deficit it’s likely to put the brakes on any consumer recovery.”

Next’s share price has risen from £16.35 to more than £22.57 in the past year.

Wolfson received a £1m bonus for nursing the retailer back to financial health. Next issued a series of profit upgrades last year as the gloom lifted from the retailer.