Next shares jump after sales growth

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Next sales have had a big boost from the retailer's Directory catalogue and internet business.

Overall second-quarter sales rose 0.7%, beating expectations, after an 11.4% jump from its Directory catalogue and internet business.

However, full-price sales at Next Retail fell 7.4%, and it said it remained "cautious" about its outlook, given the current consumer environment.

Next shares topped the FTSE 100 in morning trading, rising more than 6.3%.

The company also confirmed it would pay a special quarterly dividend of 45p.

Neil Wilson of ETX Capital said: "Next said it now expects to deliver £307m of surplus cash this year, having guided that to be £255m in May.

"The leap in surplus cash has investors eyeing up more dividends."

'Solar boost'

Next said its second-quarter sales were better than expected after it improved its product ranges and made its website more user-friendly.

It also said a spell of warm weather had helped sales.

George Salmon, an equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "After the steady flow of bad news over the last 18 months or so, which has seen the shares halve from their 2015 highs, sales trends at Next have improved in recent weeks.

"While this update provides a welcome tonic to shareholders, it's clear Next is still feeling the heat."

He said even with the "solar-powered boost" to its second-quarter sales, the company was still expecting second half sales to fall.

Next now expects full-year sales to be between 3% down and 0.5% up, narrowing the lower end of its sales guidance range by 0.5%.

It left its profit guidance unchanged, after reducing it in January and May.

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