March 23, 2017 / 7:28 AM / 6 months ago

Clothing retailer Next "extremely cautious" about year ahead

LONDON, March 23 (Reuters) - Next reported a 3.8 percent fall in annual profit on Thursday, meeting its latest guidance, and said it remained “extremely cautious” about prospects for 2017.

The clothing retailer, which warned on earnings in January, said on Thursday it made an underlying profit before tax of 790.2 million pounds ($988.2 million) in the year to January 2017.

That compared to Next’s own guidance of 785-799 million pounds, analysts’ average forecast of 793 million pounds and 821.3 million pounds made in 2015-16.

“The clothing sector faces three potential threats: a sectoral shift away from spending on clothing, price inflation as a result of sterling’s devaluation and potentially weaker growth in real incomes in the wider economy,” Next said.

Next did, however, maintain the guidance it issued in its January trading statement for the 2017-18 year. (Reporting by James Davey. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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