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Following improved its profit guidance – again. The retailer has taken shape on this front, which has been raising estimates for three years and three times last year.
Profit before tax for the six months to July rose 5.9 percent from the equivalent period before the pandemic, the retailer said. Full price sales over the past eight weeks were 20 percent higher than the same period in 2019, the statement said.
For the second half of its financial year, which runs until the end of January, it previously predicted a 6% increase in full price sales. Now, according to Next, it will be up to 10 per cent, with a full year before tax to £ 800 million. This is 6.9 per cent higher than 2019 and £ 36 million above the previous lead of the business.
Worrywart Simon Wolfson still finds cause for concern: “it’s almost certain that the underlying conditions are not as good as they currently look”, the company warns. But for a group that errs on the side of pessimism, the following statement is telling. “. . . The long-term outlook for Next appears to be more positive than for many years, ”says Next.
The British Government concludes an agreement to enforce China is CGN to a 20 percent stake in a new nuclear power plant. A £ 20bn minority stake in the Sizewell B plant will be sold to institutional investors or sold under the stock market. Our correspondents Jim Pickard and Nathalie Thomas bring you the full details of the latest efforts to curb Chinese involvement in critical British infrastructure.
The following may be normal again before the pre-pandemic, but this is still not the case with travel merchants. SSP. Revenue in its fourth quarter, which ends tomorrow, is expected to be just under half of 2019 levels. It plans for a ‘slightly slower’ recovery in sales for the next financial year than before.
Abrdn, the asset manager formerly known as Standard Life Aberdeen, has sold a £ 268 million stake in Indian investment group HDFC Asset Management. Abrdn said he plans to use the proceeds for “general corporate purposes”.
Broker Skil Hunt started trading on Aim today after launching a raft to take advantage of the boom in corporate transactions and IPOs following the pandemic. It secured a valuation of £ 280 million and raised £ 40 million in new capital and £ 72 million for the sale of shareholders.
And lastly the FCA has more details on the transition from Libor.
Across the Square Mile
Amazon want even more access to your home. The big technology company has unveiled an autonomous robot designed to patrol your corridors, as part of a range of new technology products that could upset digital privacy advocates. One analyst from a digital civil liberties group said: “If anyone has ever wanted an iPad on wheels that could roll in your home, this device might be of interest to them”. Amazon said the robot, named Astro, was a “beautiful illustration” of advances in artificial intelligence.
Sanofi halted the development of its Covid-19 vaccine based on messenger RNA technology despite positive results in early-stage tests. The French pharmaceutical group acknowledges that it was too late to be useful when competitors BioNTech / Pfizer and Moderna conquered the market, Leila Abboud reported.
And in the latest Evergrande news, the developer raised Rmb10 billion ($ 1.5 billion) by selling part of its stake in a bank to a state-owned investment group as it faces increasing pressure over the repayment deadlines. Thomas Hale and Edward White has the full details of the latest twist in the Evergrande story.
Important comments before you go
Back to the office apparently means back to the bar, he notes Brooke Masters. But critical of liquor makers, does that mean going back to the liquor? In anticipation of the problem of an increasingly turbulent youth, liquor companies have poured investments in premium and low-alcohol products. If we try the non-alcoholic tips, our lead columnist will not be completely overwhelmed. But, she thinks maybe she’s just old.