Aug 3, 2017

Next shares jump 10% amid cautious optimism

Next sounded a tentative note of optimism on Thursday even as the retailer reported an accelerating drop in sales. The fashion chain whose dismal results have for the past year foreshadowed the economic storm clouds gathering over British retail, said total sales fell 2.3 per cent in the three months to the end of July compared to the same period last year. Shares in the retailer rose more than 10 per cent in early trading to 4,446p, as it narrowed its guidance for full-year sales, raising its lowest expectation to a slide of 3 per cent, against a previous worst-case scenario of a 3.5 per cent drop. The upper end of the expected range remains an 0.5 per cent gain. A balmy June saw total spending in UK shops rise much faster than anticipated from the four-year low seen in May. At the chain's Directory business, which sells online and via catalogues, surged by 11.4 per cent in the second quarter, following much slower growth at the start of the year.

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