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Next trims profit forecast despite Christmas sales rise

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Next shares jumped today after the British clothing retailer reported a rise in sales in the run-up to Christmas and rising online demand

Next said on Thursday that strong sales in the three weeks prior to Christmas along with a good half-term holiday week at the end of October made up for disappointing sales in November. The retailer, however, downgraded its full-year profit forecast to £723m, from the £727m previously expected.

British retailers are facing a perfect storm of rising costs, Brexit-induced UK consumer weakness and the structural shift online. Clothing retailers have also suffered from unseasonably mild autumn and winter weather.

Next, which trades from more than 500 stores in Britain and Ireland, has a longstanding policy of not going on sale before Boxing Day.

Sales at its stores fell 9.2 per cent but Directory sales were up 15.2 per cent.

For the full 2018-19 year Next is forecasting full-price sales growth of 3.2 per cent and pretax profit of £723m versus 726.1 million pounds made in 2017-18. It was previously forecasting sales growth of 3 percent and profit of 727 million pounds.




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