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Next upgrades full-year profit guidance


British fashion retailer Next upgraded its full-year profit guidance for the third time in as many months after quarterly full-price sales rose by a better-than-expected 2.8 per cent, although it is cautious on Christmas trading.

The company raised its pretax profit guidance by €65 million to €365 million, though it expects fourth-quarter sales to be 8 per cent lower than a year ago due to the impact of the pandemic on the high street and pressures on online capacity. The best case scenario was for flat sales in the final quarter, with stock levels limiting any further upside.

Even after the upgrade, profit this year will be half the level of 2019-20. The retailer said the biggest risk was whether England, Scotland and Northern Ireland would follow the decision by Wales to shut non-essential retail shops as part of tougher, short-term lockdown measures. Online sale were strong in the quarter, showing a rise of 23.1 per cent.