NEXT update receives mixed broker reaction

Analysts unsurprisingly turned their attention to fashion retailer NEXT (LON:NXT) following today’s eagerly awaited trading statement, which received mixed a reaction among the City scribes.

While some brokers maintained bullish ratings, others weren’t quite so enamoured.

Haitong Securities reaffirmed its ‘buy’ recommendation, albeit placed its fair value and forecasts under review and acknowledged the “very cautious” commentary from the company but reckons the initial reaction is too severe.

The broker said: “Overall after the early-day price fall we believe that some context is required here. 2017/18 should be the worst year for most clothing retailers in terms of having to adjust to an exogenous shock to the system from sterling’s fall.”

Elsewhere, Investec and Shore Capital remained ‘sellers’ of the stock.

“While Label & International continue to trade well, ongoing weakness within the core NEXT Brand remains a fundamental concern as well as NEXT’s increased reliance on profitability from its debtor book,” Investec said. The broker lowered its target to 3,900 pence a share (from 4,580 pence).

Meanwhile, Shore Capital commented: “Whilst Next has been a consistent retail operator over the long-term, we feel a shifting landscape and significant cost pressures leave the business facing tough times.”

Retaining its ‘hold’ recommendation, Cantor Fitzgerald said the trading update was disappointing and worse than it had forecasted. However, it added: “The brand is, in our view, not broken even if it has lost its edginess against some of the mainstream competitors.”

Nevertheless, Cantor downgraded its target price to 4,600 pence per share (from 5,200 pence), which it said reflects the FY18 earnings downgrade.

At 2:07pm: (LON:NXT) Next PLC share price was -571.5p at 4198.5p

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