Retail behemoth Next has raised full-year profit forecasts despite a challenging period for high street players.
Next said sales over the past 11 weeks have been “materially ahead of our expectations”. Full-price sales in the 11 weeks to July 17 were up 18.6 per cent compared with the same period two years ago. Next had been forecasting a 3 per cent rise in sales.
On dividends, the company said: We remain committed to distributing surplus cash, that we cannot profitably invest in the business, to shareholders. As a result of the pandemic, last year we did not pay any dividends to our
shareholders. In the light of this year’s anticipated cash flow and the stability of our balance sheet, we now believe it is appropriate to restart dividend payments.
“The Board has decided to declare a special dividend of 110p per share to be paid on 3 September 2021 to shareholders registered at the close of business on 13 August 2021. Shares will trade ex‐dividend from 12 August 2021. The total value of this special dividend is approximately £140m.”