Next hikes guidance after sales jump

Guy Bentley
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Retail giant Next has reported a boom in brand sales of 10.8 per cent for the thirteen weeks to 30 April. Retail sales rose by 8.8 per cent, with the Next directory climbing 13.7 per cent.

The FTSE 100 company's sales are now 4-8 per cent ahead of the full year guidance it gave in March. Next has now increased its sales guidance for the full year to 5.5-9.5 per cent.

However, the company cautioned that it always expected an above average performance in the first quarter due to the comparative period last year suffering a cold Spring and Easter.

Next confirmed its share performance warranted a special dividend:

At our results in March we set out the way we would determine the maximum price at which the Company would buy back shares. At that time, using a prospective profit before tax of £750m, our share price limit was £62.45. Our shares traded consistently above this level in the first quarter and, as a result, we will return surplus capital to shareholders through a third special dividend of 50 pence per share.