Next profits rocket toward top end.
The Retail Sales division finished the year 2.3% down on last year though this figure is distorted by the fact that last year was a 53 week year. On a 52 week basis, total VAT exclusive sales were down 1%, sales from new space contributed +3% and like for like sales (excluding online sales) were down 4%. Revenue at the tills was 1.3% higher than reported sales due to the increase in VAT.
Retail profitability improved as achieved gross margins edged forward and overhead savings offset increases in occupancy costs.
Bought in gross margin increased by 1% as a result of better sourcing and price negotiations which more than offset the adverse impact of the rise in VAT.
Markdown costs increased, reducing margin by 0.4%. Stock for Sale was 4% up on last year and clearance rates were lower.
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