Next sales rise 3.1%
Fashion chain Next has reported a 3.1% increase in overall sales between 1 August and 24 December. This was in line with the full year guidance given in November of between 2.5% and 4.0%.
The results were boosted by the strong performance of Next Directory where online sales rose by 16.9% in the period which compensated for a 2.7% drop in retail store sales. Next said it was hard to judge to what extent warm winter weather and higher levels of competitor discounting masked deeper, longer lasting, economic effects.
Despite having a good final week before Christmas, the retailer said November and December sales were “disappointing”. However its post-Christmas sale went well with final clearance rates expected to be slightly ahead of budget and last year.
Looking ahead to 2012, the retailer said it anticipated modest growth in overall sales with profit before tax only slightly up on this year. It expects to make £200 million in surplus cash which will be returned to shareholders through share buy backs.
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