Next investors spooked by supply chain disruption, soaring inflation and prospect a cost-of-living crisis will hit demand
Next shares hit a record high in December as it roared back after the easing of Covid restrictions, but they have fallen by almost a fifth this year.
Investors have been spooked by supply chain disruption, soaring inflation and the prospect a cost-of-living crisis will hit demand.
The High Street fashion store will post its full-year results for 2021 this Thursday. Boss Simon Wolfson recently lifted the profit forecast for 2021 to £822m, up from £800m, after stronger than expected Christmas sales.
The FTSE 100 firm paid a £140m dividend in September and a higher than expected £205m in January, so shareholders will be looking for any potential payouts. They will also see whether Next plans to return to share buybacks, which it put on hold throughout the pandemic.
But the wider focus will also be on any statement from the retail bellwether on input cost inflation and pricing. There will be a particular focus on how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is impacting the business. Investors and analysts will also be watching for any downgrade to this year’s sales growth forecast, which it has set at 7 per cent.
AJ Bell financial analyst Danni Hewson said: ‘The share price slide reflects concerns over possible supply chain disruption and also the effect of inflation, higher fuel and energy prices and higher interest rates upon consumer confidence and shoppers’ willingness and ability to spend.’
Next shares were at 6528p yesterday, 23 per cent down from last year’s record 8484p.