19th March 2015
High Street fashion retailer Next has reported that its annual profits jumped 12.5% to £782m after sales rose by 7% to reach £4bn for the first time.
But following the announcement shares in the group slipped 5% in early trading as brokers banked profits. Over the past year Next stock has moved 16% higher and enjoyed a 10% rise in just the last six months.
The current broker consensus on the shares denotes a ‘hold’.
In a statement the retail house declared that the year to January 2015 was “a good year” for the business as underlying earnings per share (EPS) grew by 15% to 420p and it is proposing to increase its total full year ordinary dividend by 16% to 150p. This marks the sixth consecutive year that its EPS and ordinary dividend have grown by 15% or more.
Next chairman John Barton said: “2015 will bring new challenges and opportunities. Our strategy will remain the same, focused on our products, our profitability and returning cash to our shareholders.”