Over a year ago, in December 2007, the CFO of Next (NXT, 1150p) increased his holding bynext-spring-summer-09 8%, investing GBP 170k at 1711p. I didn’t view this as a strong signal, as he was a solo buyer, unaccompanied by other directors, and increasing his holding by less than 8% (followthedirectors: ‘Next- Keen but not yet convinced’). Over the next six months Next underperformed the market by about a third.

What I missed in July 2008 was the turning point for Next. Three directors (Chairman Barton, CFO Keens, and Non exec Dawson all bought shares, investing between GBP 16,000 and 37,000 each. I missed it due to the low $$ value of each transaction. It missed my screen. Next duly outperformed the market by over 70% between July and now.

Last week Andrew Varley, the Group Property Director, sold 10,000 shares at 1234p taking his holding to below 70,000 shares (Source: London Stock Exchange). I do think this sale is significant: Varley has been on the board of Next for 18 years, the sale value is more than the combined purchase value of Keens, Dawson and Barton.

View on Next: Negative

Strength of signal: Medium