// Next sales down 1.1% year-on-year in the 9 weeks to December 26
// Online sales in the UK were up 36% during the period
// It expects a 14% loss in full-price retail sales this month due to lockdown
Next sales have dropped by 1.1 per cent year-on-year in the nine weeks to December 26, which were “much better” than expected considering the impact of Covid-19 restrictions over the Christmas trading period.
The fashion retailer said online sales “compensated for almost all those lost in retail stores”.
It expects a 14 per cent loss in full-price retail sales this month due to the lockdown closure of 90 per cent of its stores.
- Next in takeover talks with Arcadia Group
- Next chief executive Simon Wolfson sells £10m worth of shares
Online sales in the UK were up 36 per cent during the period, while retail sales declined by 43 per cent compared to last year.
Next has upped its full-year profit guidance again after delivering “much better” sales over the Christmas period than expected.
The retailer said its full-year pre-tax profit was now expected to be £370 million, up from the £365 million forecast in October
However, stripping out a £40 million provision against retail properties and adding in an extra week, it expects pre-tax profit for the 53 weeks to be £342 million.
Based on the assumption that it will recoup 50 per cent of lost retail sales online, Next now expects sales for the full year to January 2021 to be down 16 per cent, compared with a previous forecast of 17 per cent.
For the 2021/22 year ahead, Next expects to report a pre-tax profit of £670 million, based on the assumption that there will be some disruption in the first half and a recovery in the second.
Next will announce its results for the full year ending January 2021 on April 1.