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Next: stock soars after better guidance announced.

( - Beyond interim results, which are down, Next has reassured investors on Thursday.

The share is indeed soaring 11.3% in early afternoon trading; by far best performer in the Footsie 100 index after the group increased its annual targets.

The UK retailer now expects sales growth to be in a range of between -2% and +1.5%, against -3% to +0.5% announced last August. This is the second increase the group has made in the space of four months, with last May Next having expected revenues to fall by 3.5% or at best rise by just +0.5% between the end of 2016 and the end of the current fiscal year.

Pre-tax income is expected to be between 687 million pounds and 747 million pounds, compared with the previously estimated 680 million pounds to 740 million pounds, while EPS is expected to decline by 3.1% to 10.9%, better than a previous range of between -4% and -11.8%.

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