Next lockdown sales smash expectations
By Sarah Wood | 6th May 2021
Next has raised its annual profit forecast, after sales during its first quarter beat expectations by £75m as lockdown eased.
The fashion and homeware chain, which has stores in Cheltenham and Gloucester, reported a fall of just 1.5 per cent in full price group sales in the 13 weeks to 1st May compared to the same period in 2019.
Next's earlier guidance had assumed a sales fall of 10 per cent, due to the extended store closures during lockdown.
As a result of this performance, it has raised its guidance for full year profit before tax by £20m to £720m.
The company said it was the growth in online sales of Next homeware, third-party brands and Next childrenswear, along with increasing overseas sales, which made up for the sales lost in stores.
Next has seen strong sales growth since stores reopened on 12th April, but said this is due to pent-up demand built up over the last three months and is very unlikely to reflect demand for the rest of the year.
For this reason, it has stuck with its prediction of a three per cent overall sales rise compared to two years ago.
Since stores reopened, total full price sales increased by 19 per cent compared to two years ago, with like-for-like full price sales in stores up two per cent and online sales up 52 per cent.
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