Next posts 0.4 percent decline in Christmas sales

Next brand full price sales in the 54 days from November 1 to December 24, 2016 were down 0.4 percent. The company said, Sales performance in the fourth quarter improved on the third quarter and was better than the run rate for the full year.

Total sales, including markdown sales, for the year to date are up 0.4 percent on last year, while full price sales are down 1.1 percent on last year. Within Next Directory's year to date growth of 3.6 percent, Next UK (including Label) was up 1.4 percent and overseas sales were up 18 percent on last year.

Next expects inflation to impact full year sales

Next has said that despite a difficult season, stock for its end-of-season sale was well controlled and down 3 percent on last year. However, sales in the end-of-season sale are down 7 percent on last year. The company’s revised central guidance for full year group profit now stands at 792 million pounds (971 million dollars), which may increase or decrease by 7 million pounds (8.5 million dollars) depending on trade in January.

The company said, since sales continued to decline in quarter four, beyond the anniversary of the start of the slowdown in November 2015, means there would be cyclical slow-down in spending on clothing and footwear to continue into next year. Next also expects a further squeeze in general spending due to inflation and at least 5 percent rise in prices on like-for-like due to devaluation of the pound to depress sales revenue by around 0.5 percent.

In these circumstances, the company expects Next brand full price sales growth (at constant currency) in the year to January 2018 to be between below 4.5 percent and 1.5 percent. The mid-point of this range of below 1.5 percent is marginally worse than the current year's performance. Overseas sales, the company added, would be boosted by the devaluation of the pound with total reported full price sales to be around 1 percent better than the constant currency numbers.

For the year to January 2018, the company estimates full price sales at constant currency to be between below 4.5 percent at lower end and 1.5 percent at the upper end, while including currency gains, sales are expected to range between below 3.5 percent to 2.5 percent. Group profit before tax is expected to be between 680 million pounds to 780 million pounds (834 to 957 million dollars).






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