London: Next, Britain’s second-biggest clothing retailer, posted a 7% rise in first-half profit, at the top end of expectations, but forecast a tougher second half and a flat outcome for the full year.
The firm, which runs over 460 shops in the UK and Ireland as well as a home shopping business, said on Wednesday it made pretax profit of £185.5 million ($305.1 million) in the six months ended July.
Analysts’ forecasts ranged from £177 million to 185 million, according to a company poll.
“Even if the economy technically comes out of recession we can see no reason for the consumer outlook to significantly change through the rest of this year,” Next said in a statement, adding that full-year profits would be close to last year’s 429 million pounds, in line with previous guidance.
The firm said it was not expecting second-half profits to benefit from the favourable weather enjoyed in the first, and that recent weakness in sterling would act as a headwind.