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Bad weather costs Next £22m in lost sales.

Next estimates it lost £22m of full price sales as a result of the snow (representing 2.2% of the season's total sales) leaving like for like sales down 6.1%.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Bad weather costs Next £22m in lost sales.

Next estimates it lost £22m of full price sales as a result of the snow (representing 2.2% of the season's total sales) leaving like for like sales down 6.1%.

Next said despite very challenging trading conditions in the run up to Christmas, its profit forecast for the year ending January 2011 remains within previous guidance.Next forecasts that full year profit before tax will be in the range of £540m to £555m and is in line with current market expectations. This would represent an increase of between 7% and 10% on last year.

In the period from 1st August to 24th December, total Next Brand sales (excluding VAT) were up 0.2%, just within the +0% to +3% guidance.Retail sales were down 3.1% and Directory finished the season up 8.7%.

"The outlook for 2011 is uncertain.  The impact of Government cuts on consumer spending is still unclear and we have yet to fully understand the impact of rising retail selling prices on overall demand.  We reconfirm that our own prices will be increasing by circa 8% as a result of higher input costs and the rise in VAT.  Our best guess is that price rises will moderately suppress like for like sales, though we believe this will be offset by the addition of profitable new Retail space and continued growth of Directory's online business" Next said.

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