Next Raises Annual Forecast as Quarterly Sales Beat Estimates

Next Plc (NXT), the U.K.’s second-largest clothing retailer, raised its full-year profit target as it reported higher third-quarter sales growth than analysts had anticipated.

Total sales under the Next brand, excluding value-added taxes, rose 4.3 percent in the third quarter, the Leicester, England-based company said in a statement today. The median of 16 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg was for a 2.9 percent gain.

Next now forecasts full-year brand sales may increase by as much as 3.75 percent, having previously anticipated an increase of as much as 3.5 percent. The retailer expects full-year profit before tax will be as much as 680 million pounds ($1.1 billion), up from a previous forecast of as much as 675 million pounds.

The company last month said it planned to plough ahead with store expansion despite a tough consumer climate and a booming online market. Store expansion has helped the company with online sales as well, as more than a third of orders are collected there, the company said at the time.

The company, with more than 500 stores across the U.K. and Ireland, has seen its shares gain 40 percent so far this year, giving it a market capitalization of 8.1 billion pounds.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Katarina Gustafsson in Stockholm at kgustafsson@bloomberg.net

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