Next has been an outstanding performer over the last year and has risen over the last quarter by 13 per cent despite the slightly disappointing trading over Christmas...The company will continue with the share buyback programme, £200m planned in the full year to 2013, and we believe the company still has a good opportunity to open new space and develop its online offer in the UK and the Directory overseas.
DAVID JEARY | INVESTEC
The results are reassuring and show Next’s resilience in a tough environment. The continuing profit before tax of £570.3m is towards the top of the guidance range and a one per cent beat to our forecasts. Our ‘buy’ case, based on strong cash generation, Home stores roll-out and International Directory remains intact. The shares have had a good run of late, but we see further upside potential.
JEAN ROCHE | PANMURE GORDON
Next has produced preliminary results which are slightly below our top of the range estimate at profit before tax level of £572.6m, mainly due to operating cost pressure which partly offset gross margin gains. The company is now guiding 2013 profit before tax into a £560m-£610m range, from flat guidance before, implying increased uncertainty but more possible upside. Our estimate is £593.1m and is unlikely to change significantly.