A strong third quarter performance from Next’s Directory business helped compensate for weak store sales and full-year profits are expected to be up.
Next Directory sales climbed 16.9% in the period to October 29, bringing the year-to-date advance to 15.8%. Retail sales slipped 3.3%, contributing to a year to date fall of 2.3%. The addition of new space moderated the sales fall.
At group level revenues were up 3.3% in the quarter and 3.2% in the year-to-date.
Next reported that full-year profits are likely to rise by between 1.2% and 7.7% to between £550m and £585m on sales up between 2.5% and 4.5% in total
Seymour Pierce analyst Kate Calvert said: “Next’s update is better than most had feared, with a knock out performance from Directory making up for an expected weaker retail performance.”