- Prachi Singh
Next brand full price sales in the first half-year were up 4.3 percent and brand total sales including markdown sales were up 3.8 percent to 2,013.2 million pounds (2,511 million dollars) on last year. The company said in a statement that group profit before tax was up 2.7 percent to 319.6 million pounds (398.6 million dollars) and earnings per share (EPS) were up 7.5 percent to 199.5p on last year.
The company has declared an ordinary interim dividend of 57.5p per share, which is up 4.5 percent on last year. Next added that the company is maintaining guidance for the full year, for profit before tax to be 725 million pounds, up 0.3 percent on last year and EPS growth to be up 5.2 percent.
Highlights of Next’s first half performance
The company’s retail full price sales were down 3.9 percent, compared to its initial estimate of negative 8.5 percent. After accounting for the addition of space, like-for-like full price sales were down 4.9 percent. Full price sales of Next Online grew by 11.9 percent to 880 million pounds (1,097.5 million dollars), with total sales growth including markdown of 12.6 percent. Next said, average active customers increased by 13.6 percent to 5.9 million, driven mainly by the growth in overseas and UK cash customers.
Label full price sales in the first half of this year were up 26 percent and total sales including markdown sales were up 29 percent. The company expects full price sales in the second half to be up around 13 percent, which the company said, is more in line with its original full year estimate of 15 percent. For the full year, full price Label sales are forecast to be up 19 percent, while total sales including markdown sales are forecast to be up 21 percent with net margins, after central overheads, forecast to be around 15 percent.
Overseas business delivered full price sales growth of 21 percent with total sales including markdown sales, up 23 percent. For the full year ending January 2020, Next expects full price sales to be up 23 percent, total sales including markdown sales to be up 25 percent and net margin after central overheads to be around 16 percent.