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Fashion retailer Next retail sales up 7%

Sep '05
High street retailer Next PLC announced its interim results.

Results for the Half Year Ended July 2005

- Group turnover up 8.0 percent

- Group profit before tax up 6.1 percent to £172.6m

- Buyback 1.8 percent of share capital for £71m

- Earnings per share up 7.9 percent

- Interim dividend up 7.7 percent to 14p

NEXT has made solid progress in a very tough environment with earnings per share moving forward by 7.9 percent in the first half. This growth has been achieved as a result of the addition of profitable new space, healthy growth in Home Shopping through the NEXT Directory and prudent cost control. I have been impressed with the way in which NEXT has responded to tougher times.

Against a background of a tougher consumer environment NEXT has had a solid first half, with Brand sales up 8.2 percent, group profit before tax up 6.1 percent and earnings per share up by 7.9 percent.

The core strategy for growth remains unchanged - continue to focus on improving our product ranges, opening profitable new space for NEXT Retail, expanding our NEXT Directory customer base and using surplus cash to buy back shares. Inevitably the economic climate has placed a greater emphasis on cost control and here company has made some progress.

Retail Sales
Sales in NEXT Retail were 7.0 percent ahead of last year. Like-for-like sales in stores that traded continuously andwere not affected by the opening of new space were -2.9 percent down on last year. New stores contributed 13 percent to sales of which believe 3.1 percent reduced the sales of existing outlets.

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