Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

...But Next Fights Back in Tough Year

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

...But Next Fights Back in Tough Year

Article excerpt

NEXT chief executive Simon Wolfson has gone some way to fulfilling hispromise to "put the magic back" into the clothing retailer.

After a difficult year in which retail observers have been asking whether thechain was outdated, Wolfson today reported a decent Christmas trading period.

Sales at the retail and Next Directory arm were up 0.3% for the period from 30July to 24 December.

Although like-for-like sales were down 3.2%, this was slightly better than theCity had feared.

Next was able to increase profit forecasts for the year to between [pounds sterling]492 millionand [pounds sterling]502 million a rise of around [pounds sterling]10 million.

Wolfson said that the rise in profits was due to "not marking stuff down in therun-up to Christmas, and the improvement made to the brands".

The shares, which were the second biggest riser in the FTSE 100 yesterday, fell59p to 1607p today as the City panicked about the prospects for all retailers. …

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