Interesting RNSs are starting to appear again at long last, and should build into a tidal wave of trading statements over the next couple of weeks, especially from retailers (which I take a particular interest in, as I spent 8 years as the FD for a ladieswear chain).

Fashion bellwether, Next (LON:NXT) is the first fashion retailer to report. I so admire this business, both as an analyst, and as a customer. They just execute consistently well, at everything. Even their trading statements are a model of clarity, giving precise profit & EPS guidance (if they do it, why can't everyone? I often hear company management say, "we can't give forecasts, that's your job", at analyst meetings. My answer from now on will be, "well, Next give precise forecasts to the market, so why can't you?!"). We're only talking about current year forecasts here of course, not future years.

There are no surprises within the Next figures, just slight out-performance against previous guidance, and the trend of Next Directory growing strongly has continued, with sales growth year to date of 10.5%, versus only 0.6% sales growth in Next retail.

They see the outlook as "subdued but steady". Interestingly, Next buys back a hefty chunk of its own shares each year, so a hidden benefit in that EPS has risen in spectacular fashion over the years. It's a clever strategy that has helped drive a remarkable share price performance. As usual, I can't bring myself to buy the shares now that they have already risen so much. The fwd PER is 13.5, which looks about right.

Ted Baker (LON:TED) announce that their trading statement will be issued next week, on Wed 9 Jan.

CAD/CAM software company, Delcam (LON:DLC) puts out a strong trading update, indicating that they finished the year with record orders, saying that they have, "ended an already strong year on a new high". Impressive stuff!

It's always pleasing to see a British company succeeding out there on an international level. The shares have reacted positively, as you would expect, and have punched through 1000p. The PER is getting close to 20, so…

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