Next has admitted a technical infringement of the Companies Act after a “procedural oversight” over the payment of special dividends.

However, the fashion retailer said it will not affect its ability to return cash to shareholders or its financial outlook.

In a stock exchange filing this morning, Next said it had “identified a procedural oversight in respect of the company’s processes for the payment of the special dividends…which has resulted in a technical infringement of the Companies Act 2006”.

It added: “Whilst the company always had sufficient reserves to pay the relevant distributions at the time that they were made, the Act required this to be demonstrated by reference to interim accounts filed at Companies House prior to payment.

“Regrettably, those interim accounts were not filed with Companies House until after the relevant distributions had been paid and after the lapse had been identified. No fines or other penalties have been incurred by the company.”

Next said there is no change to its financial outlook as a result of the “technical matter”.

Earlier this month the retailer reported a disappointing Christmas trading update as it was affected by mild weather and stock problems.