UK high street and online retailer Next is bucking today’s selloff, after reporting better-than-expected sales over the last three months.
Full price sales in the third quarter (to 24 October) were 2.8% higher than a year ago, as shoppers refreshed their wardrobes. Next also offered fewer online discounts, as supply constraints at its warehouses meant it could focus on full-price sales.
Next now expects a full-year pre-tax profit of £365m, which is £65m higher than forecast in September [but less than half the £748m achieved last year].
But, it also warned that tougher lockdown rules would hurt its business badly.
Next said: “The biggest single unknown is whether England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will follow Wales’ decision to shut non-essential retail shops. A two week lockdown in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland in November would reduce Retail full price sales by around £57m3 (depending on timing), representing 17% of Retail full price sales and 6% of the Group’s full price sales in the quarter.
“We have found no evidence of the virus being transmitted in our stores; nor are we aware of any studies that suggest clothing and homeware retail presents a significant risk of infection.”
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