Why Next Is Up 31% This Year

LONDON -- Next (ISE: NXT.L) has advanced 31% to 3,595 pence so far during 2012, making the share one of this year's best performers in the FTSE 100 (UKX).

The fashion retailer, which operates more than 500 outlets throughout the country, has defied the wider economic gloom with a series of positive statements.

During March, Next reported annual results that showed sales up 4% to 3.4 billion pounds and profits before tax up 5% to 570 million pounds. However, the effect of 291 million pounds spent on share buybacks helped earnings increase 15% to 255 pence per share. The dividend was raised 15% to 90 pence per share as well.

During May, Next issued a trading statement that confirmed profits before tax for the current year could be 560 million pounds to 610 million pounds. The company also said further buybacks may help earnings per share advance 4% to 13%.

Then in August, Next revealed first-half sales had improved 5% and raised its profit guidance for the full year. The group said pre-tax profits could now come in at 575 million pounds to 620 million pounds.

Next also mentioned its intention to spend 200 million pounds on share buybacks during the current year, and predicted earnings per share may grow 7% to 15%.

Next's half-year results will be published on Sept. 13, and might provide further good news.

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