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Retail Store Sales at Next Decline by 7.3%

Next - William Frost Way 725 x 500.jpg

Next has reported on full-year results for the year ended January 2019.

- Total Group sales were £4.2bn for the year with sales of full price merchandise up +3.1%.

- Online full price sales increased by +14.8%

- Retail full price sales declined by -7.3%

- Profit before tax was £722.9m - a decline of 0.4%

Michael Roney, Chairman, said:

"The NEXT Group has delivered profits exactly in line with the guidance we issued in January 2019 and we are maintaining our guidance for the year ahead.

"As anticipated, the year to January 2019 was challenging for NEXT as we continued to experience a structural change in our business, with sales continuing to transfer from our stores to online. Despite this, Earnings Per Share for the Group increased by +4.5% to 435.3p. We are proposing a final ordinary dividend of 110p taking the total ordinary dividend for the year to 165p, an increase of +4.4% on last year.

"Cash flow remained strong and we returned £541m to shareholders through a combination of ordinary dividends (£216m) and share buybacks (£325m). During the year we purchased 6.3m shares at an average price of £51.65 and reduced our shares in issue by 4.3%

"We have continued to invest in the business, spending £129m on stores, warehousing and systems. Net debt increased to £1,096m from £1,002m driven by the sales growth in nextpay, our online credit business. Net debt of £1.1bn remains well within our bond and bank facilities of £1.5bn and broadly aligned to our Online debtor book.

"We have had a number of changes to the Board during the year. Michael Law, Group Operations Director who had been with NEXT for 23 years, retired from the Board at the 2018 AGM in May. Richard Papp, who has been with NEXT for 25 years, succeeded Michael on the Board as Group Merchandise and Operations Director.

"Caroline Goodall, non-executive director and Chairman of the Remuneration Committee, retired from the Board on 1 January 2019. Tristia Harrison joined our Board in September 2018 as a non-executive director. Tristia is Chief Executive Officer of TalkTalk Telecom Group plc. The strength of the Group is built on the hard work and dedication of all NEXT’s people. I would like to thank them all for their contribution, especially for the determination and commitment they have shown during this demanding year.

"Even though the High Street looks set to remain challenging our Online business continues to increase its contribution to sales and profit of the Group. Our central guidance for the year ahead is for Earnings Per Share to grow by +3.6%. The Board continues to be focused on building shareholder value through the delivery of long term sustainable growth in Earnings Per Share. Our core strategy remains unchanged; focus on our customers, products and profitability, continuing to build on the capabilities of our brand and Online Platform and returning surplus cash to our shareholders."

Source: Insight DIY Team

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21 March 2019

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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.

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