- UK retailer Next's full-year profit before tax is expected to be £342m after accounting for better sales in November and December and anticipated losses from store closures in January, according to its trading update. Its 52-week before tax would have been £370m, but a non-recurring profit of +£12m from a 53rd week, along with an additional property provision of -£40m, mean that total full year profit before tax is forecast to be £342m. Previous guidance given in October said full-year profits would be £365m.

Year end net debt is forecast to reduce by £487m to £625m.

Full price sales in the nine weeks to 26 December were down -1.1% on last year - much better than the company's central guidance of -8% set out in its October Trading Statement. NEXT has assumed that 50% of the lost retail sales in January were recouped online, which would result in total full price sales in January being down -14%. We now expect total full price sales (including interest income), for the full year (2020/21), to be down -16%. For its 2021/22 central guidance, which assumes our retail stores will be closed in February and March, is for profit before tax of £670m, based on full price sales being flat versus two years ago.

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