Next stocks up on profits news

<p>Profits rose 12 per cent at Next in 2013.</p>

The share price of Next is up this morning (March 20th) after the high street retailer confirmed a major increase in profits in its latest annual results.

It was revealed by the company that it recorded a 5.4 per cent growth in sales to £3.7 billion to the end of January, resulting in a 12 per cent rise in the firm's annual profits to £695 million.

Next also announced in a statement that Next Directory – which is the company's online and catalogue business – has been particularly successful in the last 12 months. Sales via Next Directory rose by 12 per cent, while sales at bricks-and-mortar shops were up by 1.7 per cent.

Next chief executive Lord Wolfson issued a warning regarding the UK's slow economic recovery, noting how it has been driven by credit. However, he stated he is positive about the year ahead.

He said: "If anything has been learnt from the last ten years, it is that credit cannot continue to grow faster than wages forever. Until we see significant increase in the supply side of the economy (profitable investment and improved productivity), we cannot bank on a return to sustained growth."

Forecasts up

Next is now forecasting sales growth of up to eight per cent this year, which is a significant rise on its previous prediction of just four per cent. Next also stated that profits in 2014 are likely to rise by up to £770 million.

Lord Wolfson added that the "modest improvement" in the consumer economy in the last two or three years looks set to continue through 2014. He stated that this is thanks in part to wages gradually closing the gap with inflation.

The share price of Next has risen this morning following the announcement of the increase in profits at the high street retailer. Stocks in the company were 1.6 per cent up for the day and still rising at 08:33 GMT on the London Stock Exchange.

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