Next lifted by hot weather

NEXT yesterday raised its guidance after first-quarter sales beat expectations, boosted by warm weather over Easter and spending ahead of the royal wedding holiday weekend.

Total sales increased 5.2 per cent over the 13 weeks to 30 April.

That compared with its guidance for first-half sales that ranged from a drop of 0.5 per cent to a rise of 2.5 per cent.

Full-year pre-tax profit is now estimated at between £535m and £585m – an increase of £15m on its previous forecast.

Sales at Next’s stores rose 0.9 per cent, while Directory sales soared 14.8 per cent, also benefiting from better ranges and a next day delivery marketing campaign.

Chief executive Simon Wolfson said: “Even without the effect of the good weather I think we would have been at the top end of our own forecasts but the weather’s definitely adding at least 2.5 per cent.”