Next reports solid results but gears up for toughest year “since 2008”

Next at Highcross, Leicester
Next at Highcross, Leicester

Enderby-based clothing, footwear and homewear retail giant Next has reported a “solid” performance for the year ending January 2016, but has warned that the coming year could present significant challenges.

The period saw EPS grow by 5% to 442p – leading the company to propose a 5% increase to its full year ordinary dividend. £568m was returned to shareholders during the year.

Total Group sales rose by 3% to £4.1bn, and, reflecting its strength, the company spent £151 on new stores and a new warehouse.

However, despite this robust performance chief executive Lord Wolfson believes the outlook for 2016/2017 will be “less benign” thanks to growth in real earnings slowing markedly since September last year.

He said: “The year ahead may well be the toughest we have faced since 2008. We are very clear on our priorities going forward and whatever challenges we may face, it is important that we remain focused on ensuring that the company’s product, marketing, services and cost controls all improve in the year ahead.”