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StockBeat: Next Joins Zara, H&M in Cracking the Digital Age

StockBeat: Next Joins Zara, H&M in Cracking the Digital Age. Next , often seen as a rough proxy for the sector in the U.K., certainly looks in rude health after a quarterly update that surpassed its own expectations by a long way. Its bigger fashion rivals, Inditex (MC:ITX) (the owner of Zara and Massimo Dutti) and H&M (ST:HMb) have offered variations on the same theme in recent years, H&M suffering particularly acutely from inventory management problems and misjudged commitments to new store openings. The company raised its guidance for full-year operating profit and sales after a strong second quarter that contrasted starkly with disappointing reports from Nike (NYSE:NKE) and Under Armour (NYSE:UAA) in recent days. But if Next, H&M and Inditex all owe the revival in their fortunes in some degree to transcending the traditional physical store, this week’s earnings reports have shown that there’s one sector that can’t do that.

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