Next's full price sales improve
Next has reported that full price sales rose by 1.3% year-on-year in its third quarter following a strong uplift in online sales which offset a decline in its high street stores.
In the three months to 29 October online sales climbed by 13.2% but sales in the retailer’s stores were down 7.7%.
In a statement, Next said the lower clearance rates seen in its summer end-of-season sale this year had continued into the third quarter, both in the mid-season sale and its clearance operation. As a result total sales, including markdown sales, were up 0.8% in the three month period and down 1.2% for the year to date.
Next said its sales performance has remained “extremely volatile” and is highly dependent on the weather. In August and September sales were significantly up on last year as cooler temperatures improved sales of warmer weight stock.
Looking ahead, Next said the volatility was making it difficult to determine any underlying sales trend but added: “We believe the most reliable guide to sales for the balance of the year are the full price sales for the year to date, which are down -0.3%. This number is at the mid-point of the sales guidance we gave in September and so we are maintaining the central profit guidance we issued at that time, albeit we are narrowing the range.”
Next now expects its full year pre-tax profit to be between £692 million and £742 million compared to a previous guidance of £687 million to £747 million.
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