Next upbeat on outlook despite fall in profit
Next has reported that pre-tax profit fell by 9.5% to £309.4 million in its first half.
In the six months to July, total sales reduced by 2.2% to £1.9 billion as store sales fell by 8.3%. In contrast, Next Directory online sales climbed by 5.7%
The retailer said the combination of falling sales, a large fixed cost base, some one-off increases in costs and higher markdown costs ahd all served to reduce profit.
Despite a difficult first half, Next said its performance in the last three months had been encouraging and whilst the retail environment remains tough, its prospects going forward look less challenging than they did six months ago.
As a result, Next has upgraded its sales and profit guidance for the full year. It now expects pre-tax profit to be in the range of £687 to £747 million compared to its previous estimate of £680 to £740 million.
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