Shares in retailer Next dropped on the FTSE 100 despite the group reporting a rise in revenue and profit in the half year to July 2012.
The group saw revenue increase 4.8 per cent to £1.6 billion, while profits jumped 10.2 per cent to £251 million.
In addition to increasing the interim dividend 12.7 per cent to 31 pence per share, Next said it had returned £112 million to shareholders through share buybacks.
Despite the apparently positive results Next admitted that sales in August and early September have been "disappointing", although the group added that while it was cautious about the economic outlook it remained confident that profits, sales and earnings per share in the full year would "move forward on last year".
Richard Hunter, Head of Equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, commented, "Next's outlook statement has proved to be its undoing, as the shares tumbled in early trading.
"It is a sign of the times that the market makes no allowances for disappointment, particularly in the retail arena, and Next has fallen foul by quoting disappointing trading in August and early September, without necessarily quantifying the slowdown. Yet the share price reaction masks another set of solid numbers, with extremely strong gains among the key metrics of revenue, profits, and earnings per share. There is a continuation of the progressive dividend policy, whilst the seemingly unassailable growth of the Directory business is, again, a key contributor.
"Whether time for reflection by analysts softens the blow remains to be seen. In any event, the shares had been viewed as being up with events following a 55% rise in the share price over the last year, as compared to a 12% gain in the wider FTSE100, and a 30% jump in the last six months alone. Today's share price fall may be enough to tempt new investors looking for an entry point but, in the meantime, the outlook statement alone means that the general view of the shares as a hold is unlikely to face much upward pressure."
By 14:40 shares in Next were down 6.09 per cent on the FTSE 100 to 3,361.00 pence per share.
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