14 September 2011 – interim results

In what was clearly a tough period for retailers, Next has bucked the trend by reporting very solid results got the six months to 31 July.  Revenue increased by 3.6% to £1.57bn with pre-tax profits increasing by 8.5% to £228m.  Earnings per share were 18.6% higher at 98.3p and the interim dividend was raised by 10% to 27.5p.  These are clearly superb figures in the circumstances with growth in revenues driven by NEXT Directory which increased sales by over 15%.  Net debt increased by £110m during the period as the group increased stock levels by 25% following the supply chain problems of 2010.  The group sold Ventura in July for £65m with the proceeds being used to fund share buybacks which are continuing.  The group remains cash generative and despite the problems of the high street the shares remain a BUY.