- Retailer Next said it had increased its full-price sales and profit guidance for the second half after better-than-expected sales performance in the second quarter.

Full-price sales in the second quarter rose 4% year on year, which was 4.5% better than the guidance of -0.5% the company gave in its May trading statement, it said. However, the growth came entirely from online (up 12% in the second quarter), offsetting a further drop in retail sales (down 4.2%).

Full-price sales in May and June combined were up 3% while July was up 6.8%. However, the company said some of July's over-performance in full-price sales was as a result of lower markdown sales in its end-of-season sale. Accordingly, it based its second-half underlying growth guidance on the May/June numbers.

The company increased its full-price sales guidance to 3% from 1.7% previously and raised its pre-tax profit guidance 0.3% to £725m from £715m previously.

It said it now expected earnings per share to grow 5.2%, compared with 3.4% growth previously.

The firm also said it maintained its guidance to return £300m of surplus cash to shareholders, by way of share buybacks. To date it had purchased £280m.

It would announce its results for the first half of the year on Thursday 19 September 2019.

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