January 3, 2018 / 7:15 AM / 2 months ago

UK's Next upgrades profit forecast on Christmas sales beat​

LONDON, Jan 3 (Reuters) - British clothing retailer Next upgraded its full-year profit forecast after it beat guidance for sales in the run-up to Christmas, helped by colder weather.

Next, the first major listed retailer to update on Christmas trading, said on Wednesday total full price sales rose 1.5 percent in the period from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 percent, the bulk of its fourth quarter.

That compares to company guidance for a fall of 0.3 percent and follows third quarter growth of 1.3 percent.

Next had previously flagged that comparative sales numbers with last year were much more demanding in the fourth quarter than they were in the third.

The retailer upgraded its central pretax profit guidance for the full 2017-18 year, forecasting 725 million pounds ($985.5 million), up from previous guidance of 717 million pounds.

It forecast profit of about 705 million pounds for the following year, with costs growing faster than sales. ($1 = 0.7357 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)

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