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Next share price: Jefferies flags surge in first-quarter sales

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Jefferies reckons that Next (LON:NXT) is expected to have enjoyed a ‘strongly weather-boosted start’ to its new financial year, Proactive Investors reports. The comments come as the high street retailer prepares to update investors on its first-quarter performance on May 1.

Early trade this Tuesday has seen a rise in the Next share price, with the stock trading 0.98 percent higher at 5,744.00p as of 08:58 BST. The shares are outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.47 percent higher at 7,471.56 points.

Jefferies upbeat on Next

Jefferies reaffirmed its ‘hold’ rating on Next yesterday, lifting its price target on the shares from 4,600p to 5,200p. The move comes ahead of the high street retailer’s Q1 update, with the analysts forecasting sales growth of 3.7 percent, made up of a 13.2-percent rise in online sales and a 5.4-percent decline in in-store sales.

“Industry statistics have already highlighted good demand in the UK for clothing in both February and March,” the broker pointed out in a note to clients, as quoted by Proactive Investors, adding, however, that they do not expect the company to lift full-year guidance in the update.

“While supportive trading conditions at the start of the season bode well for markdown needs later in that same season, we are also aware of the extent to which NXT expects Q2 sales softness to balance out a buoyant Q1,” Jefferies explained.

Other analysts on retailer

The 19 analysts offering 12-month Next share price targets for the Financial Times have a median target of 5,225.00p on the stock, with a high estimate of 6,370.00p and a low estimate of 4,100.00p. As of April 12, the consensus forecast amongst 23 polled investment analysts covering the blue-chip group advises investors to hold their position in the company.

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