Next sees online sales make up for poor showing in stores over Christmas

Caitlin Morrison
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A Next retail store is pictured in Eppin
Next's in-store sales dropped over Christmas (Source: Getty)

Next has reported a 1.5 per cent increase in full price sales over the festive period, which it's put down to the cold snap in the run up to Christmas, and as a result, has increased its profit guidance for the current year.

Shares in the group were up more than eight per cent in early trading.

The FTSE 100 firm posted a 6.1 per cent decline in full price sales in retail stores during the 54 days to 24 December, but a 13.6 per cent rise in online sales meant total sales were up by 1.5 per cent over Christmas, beating expectations.

Therefore, Next said, it has "marginally" upgraded its profit guidance for the current financial year, hiking it by £8m to £725m.

Strong online sales helped the retailer return to growth towards the end of 2017.

"Many of the challenges we faced last year look set to continue into the year ahead," the group said today.

"Subdued consumer demand driven by a decline in real income, the increase in experiential spending at the expense of clothing, and inflation in our cost prices remain challenges for 2018.

"However, we believe that some of these headwinds will ease as we move through the year; we already know that cost price inflation will reduce to two per cent in the first half and believe it will disappear in the second half."

Next said it is budgeting for sales next year to dip by between two and four per cent.

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