Equity prospects

NEXT

James Godrich, Research Assistant

Price£49.51

52 week high-low£81.02–£35.50

Net yield3.23%

Hist / pros per10.8–11.2

Equity market cap£6,977m

Next is a UK-based retailer selling clothing, footwear and accessories. The company operates through four main business segments: Next Retail, a chain of more than 500 stores in the UK and Ireland; Next Directory, a home shopping catalogue and online platform; Next International Retail, with almost 200 mainly franchised stores globally and Next Sourcing, which is involved in the design, sourcing and buying of Next products.

Next have benefited in the past from first mover advantage with their desktop website. In more recent times though management have become aware that they have been late to address their, arguably more important, mobile-enabled websites as sales migrate from desktop computer to phone and tablet. The design and build of the mobile-enabled websites have now been brought in-house and initial results seem encouraging, with Next Directory outperforming the group’s other divisions in recent trading.

Strategic and operational issues appear to be moving in the right direction for Next. But with a likely negative impact on household discretionary spend and sterling related inflation on their cost of goods sold, the macro outlook for the UK retailers appears uncertain at best.

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