Next’s directory sales surges as high street arm continues to suffer

Next second quarter sales

Next enjoyed an 11.4 per cent surge in directory sales in its second quarter, offsetting another period of decline in its retail arm.

Despite this, the fashion retail giant said the recent warm and sunny spell, as well as an overhaul of its product ranges and online offering, saw its overall sales rise by 0.7 per cent in the quarter ending July 29 — an improvement on the three per cent drop seen in the previous quarter.

This came despite a 7.4 per cent drop in retail sales across its high street and shopping centre shops, although this was also a slight improvement compared to the 8.1 per cent drop in retail sales seen in the first quarter.

“We believe there has been some improvement in our product ranges and our online functionality during this period,” Next said in its trading statement.

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“However, we believe most of the increase in full price sales is due to the much warmer weather and, to a lesser degree, lower markdown sales in the end-of-season sale.”

Looking at its half year period so far, Next’s retail sales was down by 7.7 per cent year-on-year and directory sales was up by 7.4 per cent year-on-year.

This means Next’s overall sales dipped by 1.2 per cent compared to the same first half the year prior.

The high street chain reaffirmed its guidance that its full-year profits would fall by between 6.4 per cent and 13.9 per cent to £680 million and £740 million respectively, although it slightly improved its sales outlook.

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