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Next plc Q1’FY14 brand sales climb 10.8%

May 01, 2014 (United Kingdom)

Next plc announces Interim Management Statement 30 April 2014.
 
Sales Performance to 26 April 2014
Next Brand sales for the first thirteen weeks of financial year were up 10.8%, of which 2.2% came from the opening of profitable new space.  NEXT Retail sales were up 8.8% and NEXT Directory was up 13.7%. 
 
Sales are currently ahead of the 4%-8% full year guidance the company gave in March and is increasing its sales guidance for the full year to 5.5%-9.5%. This new guidance might look conservative in the light of the first quarter's performance. However, company always expected the first quarter to show above average sales growth as the comparative period last year suffered from a particularly cold Spring and Easter Holiday period.
 
Special Dividend and Share Buyback Price Limit
At company’s results in March it sets out the way it would determine the maximum price at which the Company would buy back shares.  At that time, using a prospective profit before tax of £750m (which was the mid-point of our guidance range), its share price limit was £62.45. 
 
Its shares traded consistently above this level in the first quarter and, as a result, it will return surplus capital to shareholders through a third special dividend of 50 pence per share. This will be paid on 1 August 2014 to those on the Company register at market close on 11 July.  The shares will trade ex-dividend from 9 July.
 
The mid-point of company’s new Profit before tax guidance is now £770m and accordingly it is increasing its buy back price limit, in line with this guidance, to £64.00.  
 
Ordinary Dividend
At the Company's AGM on 15 May a final ordinary dividend of 93p will be proposed, making 129p for the year.  Subject to shareholder approval, this will be paid on 1 August.  So the total of dividends to be paid on 1 August will be the 93p final ordinary dividend and a 50p special interim dividend, making £1.43 in total.
 
Trading Statement 29 July 2014
Company’s next statement will cover the first 26 weeks of the year, to 26 July 2014, and is provisionally scheduled for Tuesday 29 July 2014.
 

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