Next (LON: NXT) lifts its profit guidance for the third time since September.
The shares of Next (LSE: NXT) advanced 107p, or 3%, to 3,879p during early London trading this morning after the FTSE 100 (UKX) member lifted its full-year profit guidance.
Next, which operates more than 500 retail stores in the UK and Ireland, as well as almost 200 stores overseas, revealed profits before tax were now expected to come in between £611m and £625m for the year to January 2013.
Next had previously expected a figure of between £590m and £620m.
Today's fresh profit projection followed 4% sales growth during November and December combined with better-than-anticipated gross margins.
Next also reckoned a lower tax rate plus share buybacks totalling £245m would help push earnings per share between 14% and 17% higher to around the 295p mark.
Today's statement was the third profit uplift from the retailer since September. Mid-way during 2012, Next had estimated earnings would advance by about 8%.
The retailer also claimed today that the year to January 2014 could witness sales growth of between 1.5% and 4%, as well as a £250m share buyback. Those 2014 predictions could help earnings hit 320p per share and put the shares on a P/E of 12.
This morning's update confirmed Next as being among the high street's best performers of the recession. Between 2007 and 2012, the firm's underlying earnings per share have rallied 75% while the dividend has almost doubled.
Indeed, the shares, which plunged below a tenner during the banking crash, have been a multi-bagger investment for the vast majority of the company's long-term shareholders.
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> Maynard does not own any share mentioned in this article.