Next Narrows Full-Year Sales Target as First Half Falls Short

Next Plc, the U.K.’s second-largest clothing retailer, narrowed its sales growth target for the full year after first-half sales missed analysts’ estimates.

Sales may advance between 1.5 percent and 3.5 percent in the full year if they reach the company’s second-half goal of advancing between 1 percent and 4 percent, the Leicester, England-based retailer said today. Total sales under the Next brand, excluding value-added taxes, rose 2.3 percent in the 26 weeks ended July 27. The median estimate of 13 analysts was for a 2.4 percent gain.

Sales are more volatile and difficult to predict as consumers become more “spontaneous” with their shopping decision, the company said. That’s led to more revenue from selling full-priced items and fewer discounts, which boosted earnings in the first half and will lead to profit being as much as 675 million pounds ($1.04 billion), higher than an earlier target of as much as 665 million pounds, Next said.

In May, the company predicted full-year revenue growth of 1 percent to 4 percent. Next shares rose 1.1 percent to 4,902 pence in London trading yesterday. The shares have climbed 32 percent this year.

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