Retail industry attention turns to high street bellwether Next

Jessica Morris
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Next is a bellwether for the British high street (Source: Getty)

The retail industry's attention will turn to Next, with the UK high street bellwether expected to report a fall in sales in the coming week.

The FTSE-100 listed firm's widely-watched results are regarded as a good indicator for how its peers, such as Marks & Spencer, are faring.

Read more: Retailers rocked by sales shocker

Next's trading is likely to have suffered in the second quarter, as a rainy June and Brexit uncertainty kept cautious shoppers at bay. Nevertheless, its impact was cushioned somewhat by the start of its sale and a subsequent spell of warmer weather.

Graham Spooner, investment research analyst at the Share Centre, said: "Recent data for clothing sales in the UK was also poor so expectations for Next’s figures will not be high."

Figures released this weekend by research group Springboard showed shoppers started returning to the high street in the wake of the UK's surprise decision to leave the European Union.

While the number of shoppers dropped five per cent in the Brexit week, the total fall narrowed to 1.1 per cent in the four weeks ended 24 July.

Read more: Death of the high street? Don't be so sure

Sales at Next dropped 0.2 per cent for the three months to 2 May, with full price sales down In M0.9 per cent. At the time is said a further deterioration was "unlikely but possible".

Its shares had tumbled in March, after the retailer slashed full-year estimates and warned this year could be its toughest since 2008. Chief executive Simon Wolfson pointed to slowing wage growth, as well as "uncertainty in the global economy".

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