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Author: Alan LittleDate: 2021-09-30

Next (NXT) +3.89% after upgrading sales forecast for fourth time

Next (NXT) closed 3.89% higher in London on Wednesday after the British clothing and home product retailer said that sales should surge past 2019 levels amid strong business at its physical stores.

In a new update in midweek, Next said that sales for 2021 should be 10% higher than prior to the pandemic two years ago, while profits before tax are expected to climb 7% year-over-year to £800m.

This is now the fourth time that Next has upgraded its sales forecast in nine months, which reflects growing optimism within the business about trading conditions following the lockdown restrictions earlier in the year.

During the last two months, overall sales have soared 20% as consumers returned to physical stores over the summer, though its online platform is still pulling its weight.

Next believes that it has benefited from a trifecta of positive developments, including customers dipping into lockdown savings, the demand for new clothing, and more people holidaying at home rather than abroad.

It noted that these trends might not hold in the coming months, so trading could potentially slow down heading into the holiday season.

Another headwind is the ongoing labour shortages linked to Brexit and the pandemic, and other supply chain issues that could cause problems over Christmas.

Online sales are still healthy though having surged 52% to $1.5bn during the six months to 31st July.

Following the latest update, Next traded higher on the London Stock Exchange and eventually finished up 3.89% at 8,394.00p.

In the US, Netflix (NFLX) rose 2.6% after the streaming service committed to its recent plans to add video games to its library by acquiring developer Night School Studio.

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