Good morning - this feels like one of the busiest days of the years for company news. Three shares I own have made announcements, plus a very long list of others.

The list finished up as:

Next (LON:NXT)

  • Share price: £55.64 (+8.6%)
  • No. of shares: 140 million
  • Market cap: £7,773 million

Results for the Half Year ending July 2018

(Please note that I currently hold NXT shares.)

This half-year report is a long document. But it's not a long list of random and disconnected statistics - far from it. It's truly a narrative that shows you how the business has performed and how management are planning for the future.

Future MBA degree courses (maybe current ones) should use Next's investor results presentations as the material to demonstrate successful leadership:

  • how a retail business survived the move online
  • how to communicate with the outside world
  • how to plan for change
  • how to manage costs, margins and cash flows

Perhaps I'm getting carried away. Next itself will admit that the future is highly uncertain and that it faces major cyclical and structural challenges. The "endpoint" of so much change in retail could yet turn out to be bleak for Next and its shareholders (including me!)

Next shareholders are enjoying the twin benefits of a company that A) reports in a detailed manner, and B) reports punctually.

Even in a bear-case scenario, these detailed reports will at least help to us to understand what happened and why. We will know which assumptions turned out to be false. We will see the trends that led to failure. There are so many small-caps where their stated reasons for disappointing leave so much unsaid.

Secondly, note that these are half-year results forJuly! The average small-cap with decent financial controls is a month behind. One of the surprising benefits of big-caps is how quickly they can get their numbers out, compared to small-caps.

Let's consider some of the main features of these results:

  • Total full-price sales up 4.5%, total sales up 3.9%…

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