Next sales rise but shares hit by jitters over Christmas

Next sales rise but shares hit by jitters over Christmas”

Meanwhile full-price sales had a 1.3 per cent uptick, a significant improvement on the three per cent decline that was recorded in the first quarter.

"However, as we highlighted in September, the third quarter past year was very weak, whereas the Christmas trading period was only down -0.4 per cent".

Next saw full price sales up +1.3 YOY in its third quarter (to 29th October 2017), leaving year-to-date full price sales down -0.3%.

British clothing retailer Next said on Wednesday its sales improved in the latest quarter, though trading was "extremely volatile" and highly dependent on the weather.

It added: "In August and September, sales were significantly up on a year ago, as cooler temperatures improved sales of warmer weight stock".

Sales have risen at Next in the third quarter but trading remains "extremely volatile" and sales could fall again as it heads into the Christmas period.

Next's shares fell by more than 7% in early trading after the announcement.

Retail analyst Nick Bubb described the slide in Next's high street sales as "sickening".

"This is a worry, although there does seem to an improving trend in sales growth throughout the year".

George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said weak sales growth over the last three months took the City by surprise.

Next reaffirmed its profit guidance for the year, saying it expects to deliver pre-tax profits between £692m-£742m, compared with its previous forecast of £687m-£747m.

A 13.2% jump in sales at its directory arm helped push overall sales higher.

"A particularly weak October means the group enters the all-important Christmas period with less momentum than it would have liked". "Shareholders in Marks & Spencer, for example, might now be a bit more nervous ahead of next week's half-year numbers".

Since then, it has been overhauling its product ranges and upped its earnings outlook in September as it said its prospects were "less challenging" than previously expected.

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