Next sees wild fluctuations in sales amid changeable weather

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Fair-weather customers are making things tricky for fashion chain Next as the company revealed sales fluctuated wildly in each of the past 13 weeks.

However, the business was helped by a poor autumn last year, which was unseasonably warm, meaning that sales by comparison in the 13 weeks to October 24 were up 6% in total.

Next sales in stores were up 5.9% and sales via its popular Directory catalogue rose 6.2%, meaning guidance for full-year profits was pushed up slightly from between £805 million to £845 million, to between £810 million to £845 million.

But the biggest concern was from the wild swings in sales.

The company said the full-price sales growth by week “demonstrates the continued volatility of consumer demand”.

Total sales for the period, including sale items, were up 7.3% although bosses revealed markdown sales grew faster than full-price sales.

Retail analyst at Investec, Alastair Davies, suggested the strong growth at Next could be indicative of the whole high street.

He added: “Next could also be benefiting from ongoing space allocation in new openings towards Home[ware].”

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October 28, 2015 |
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