Total brand sales at fashion & furniture retail specialist Next rose 1.4 per cent during its first quarter period despite challenging trading conditions, according to a statement released today.
While sales at its stores fell 3.9 per cent year-on-year in the 13 weeks to April 28th 2012, strong online and catalogue trading meant its Directory division achieved a sales increase of 11.8 per cent for the period.
With little change in costs, prices or gross margins, Next believes that it will achieve its previously stated full-year profit target of between £560 million and £610 million which is based on sales rising between one per cent and four per cent year-on-year.
Next also said in its statement today that growth in the second quarter should be stronger that in the first three months of its financial year, due to the strong comparatives in Q1 caused by 2011’s Royal Wedding celebrations and exceptionally warm weather.
Simon Chinn, Lead Consultant at analyst firm Conlumino, said that Next’s performance in the first quarter mirrored the trends seen over the previous three months and represented a robust performance.
Chinn added: “While last month may have been a complete wash out and further dampened sales of its Spring/Summer collection, the outlook for the quarter ahead looks more encouraging with the upcoming Jubilee and summer sporting events likely to provide some boost to its seasonal ranges.
“As Next is one of the sponsors of the Olympics and is selling official merchandise for the games, it will be counting on that patriotic spend to help boost retail sales in the next quarter.”
Over the full-year period the retailer estimates that its profit before tax could drop by as much two per cent however ever at the top range of their predictions PBT could rise seven per cent, with much depending on the wider economic performance.
Next is confident that shareholders earnings per share will grow during the year and is currently estimating between a four per cent and 13 per cent jump over the year.