Fashion retailer Next has posted a strong set of results for 2013 as it grew its online and catalogue business.
The firm is now expected to surpass Marks and Spencer‘s earnings for the first time as profit rose 12 per cent to £695m for the 12 months to the end of January.
“The year to January 2014 was a great year for Next,” said Chairman John Barton.
The fashion chain, which resisted heavy discounting over the Christmas period, said online and catalogue division sales rose 12.4 per cent which now accounts for over 35 per cent of its business.
Analysts Shore Capital expect Next to make a pre-tax profit of £730m- £770m in 2014 while its forecast for Marks and Spencer was a lower £708m.
This publication reported that M&S fashion sales fell for the fourth quarter in 2013 LINK as Next made strong gains in the fashion market.
The news comes as Next non-executive director Christine Cross announced her departure from the company after nine years.
“Whatever areas of weakness highlighted in the past – a failure to merchandise adequately for changeable weather conditions, the tendency to rely on ‘safe‘ designs – are now being highlighted as key areas of improvement by the retailer,” commented Anusha Couttigane, Consultant at Conlumino.
Share price surged 55 per cent to £62.80.