Monday, April 15, 2024

Record pre-tax profits for Next as sales rise

Sales have risen and pre-tax profits have hit a record high at Next plc, according to its full year results for the year ending January 2024.

Full price sales were up 4% at the Leicestershire retailer and total group sales rose by 5.9% to £5.8bn. Meanwhile, profit before tax rose by 5% to £918 million – £3m ahead of the guidance of £915m given in January, largely due to better than expected clearance rates of sale stock.

Michael Roney, Chairman, said: “In the context of the wider economic environment, the year to January 2024 was a very good year for NEXT and the business materially outperformed our initial expectations. NEXT Group profit before tax rose to a record high of £918m, up +5.0%. Cash flow remained strong and we returned £425 million to shareholders through a combination of dividends (£248 million) and share buybacks (£177 million).

“In the last year we have focused on improving our product ranges, improving our online service levels, managing costs and profitability, whilst also laying the foundations for future growth businesses. We launched three new Total Platform clients (JoJo Maman Bébé, Joules and MADE), taking our total number of clients to seven. We also made a number of new investments, increasing our equity stake in Reiss by 21% to 72% and taking a 97% equity stake in FatFace. We also acquired 100% of the intellectual property in Cath Kidston.

“The year ahead will see a number of changes to our Board. Amanda James, who has been with NEXT for 28 years and our Finance Director for nine years, retires from the Board in July. Amanda has seen many changes over that time and has made a huge contribution to the Group. She has been an exceptional guardian of our finances and an integral part of the leadership of the Company. Our financial position today is testament to her diligence and hard work and, on behalf of all of us at NEXT, I thank Amanda for her amazing work.

“I am delighted that Jonathan Blanchard will succeed Amanda on the Board. Jonathan was most recently the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the Reiss Group, having joined Reiss as a Board Director in 2017. We have worked closely with Jonathan for over three years since we acquired an equity stake in Reiss. Jonathan brings to the Board a wealth of retail experience, a strong eye for financial detail and a good understanding of our operations, gained through managing Reiss’s transition onto Total Platform. I am very confident that he will make an excellent addition to our Board.

“Dame Dianne Thompson, one of our non-executive directors, is leaving the Board in May. Dianne has made a valuable contribution to the Board over the last nine years. In particular, I would like to thank Dianne for the time and insight she has given to the Board’s relationship with colleagues through her participation in our people and communication forums.

“Finally, I am pleased that Amy Stirling and Venetia Butterfield will be joining our Board in April as independent non-executive directors. Between them they bring a breadth and depth of expertise that will enhance and broaden the Board’s collective knowledge.

“The continued success of NEXT is built on the hard work, dedication and decision making of all the people who work for NEXT. I would like to thank them all for their contribution during the year; I have little doubt and much expectation that they will rise to the new challenges and opportunities that are presented in 2024.”

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