Monday, 27 January, 2020


Next shares down sharply after 'volatile' trading warning

Next shares down sharply after 'volatile' trading warning Next shares down sharply after 'volatile' trading warning
Conrad Doyle | 01 November, 2017, 15:05

Full price retail sales during the quarter were down -7.7%, while sales from the directory were up +13.2%.

When factoring in markdowns, the high street stalwart's total sales inched up 0.8 per cent in the third quarter, but for the year to date it was down 1.2 per cent.

Next reported third-quarter sales up 1.3% with most of that coming from new store openings, suggesting its core business is stagnating.

George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "While the recent investment in digital marketing seems to have helped the Directory division rediscover its mojo, Next's high street stores saw an almighty slump this quarter".

However, as we highlighted in September, the third quarter a year ago was very weak, down -3.5% on 2015, whereas the Christmas trading period was only down -0.4%.

He added a note of caution ahead of Thursday's widely expected interest rate rise from 0.25% to 0.5%, which comes as households are being squeezed by surging inflation and paltry wage growth.

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.

"The change in sales trend came at precisely the same time United Kingdom temperatures became warmer than previous year".

The group said this was making it hard to forecast sales ahead of key Christmas trading.

In its trading update, Next predicted that sales in the fourth quarter would fall by 0.3% - the same figure by which its sales have fallen so far this year.

Next has now narrowed its guidance for full-year sales and profit and now expects to report profits for the financial year of bwteen £692m and £742m, compared to earlier estimates of £687m to £747m which were made in September. Retailer warns sales remain "extremely volatile".

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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