Britain's Next edges up profit forecast after strong Christmas

LONDON, Jan 3 (Reuters) - British clothing retailer Next edged up its profit forecast for the full 2019-20 year after better-than-expected sales in the Christmas period.

Next, the first major UK listed retailer to update on Christmas trading, said on Friday total full price sales including interest income rose 5.2% in the period from Oct. 27 to Dec. 28, the bulk of its fiscal fourth quarter. That was 1.1% ahead of Next’s internal forecast and compared to third quarter growth of 2%.

The group said its sales performance in the period was helped by a much colder November than last year and improved stock availability in both its retail stores and online.

As a result Next increased its full-year profit guidance by 2 million pounds ($2.6 million) to 727 million pounds, an increase of 0.6% on last year. It forecast earnings per share (EPS) growth of 5.4%.

$1 = 0.7621 pounds Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle