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Festive sales up at Next

Full-price sales at Next were up 1.5% over the Christmas period, thanks to “much colder” weather.

The retailer saw an improvement in full-price sales online and in stores from 1 November to 24 December, beating its own prediction of a 0.3% dip.

Full-price store sales dropped 6.1% year on year during the period, while online sales were up 13.6%.

As a result of the improved performance, Next has upgraded its full-year profit guidance.

Central guidance for group profit has increased by £8m to £725m, and the profit guidance range is now £718m to £732m. The business said where it sits in this range will depend on the performance of its January Sale.

Stock for Next’s end-of-season Sale, including product used for its first ever Black Friday event, was down 6% on last year.

The business remains cautious for 2018, however, expecting “subdued consumer demand” driven by a decline in real income, the continued increase in experiential spending at the expense of clothing, and inflation in cost prices.

Next said headwinds will ease as it expects cost price inflation to reduce to 2% in the first half, and disappear in the second half.

The business is budgeting for full-price sales next year to grow by between -2% and +4%. The mid-point of +1% is an improvement on this year’s anticipated growth of +0.3%.

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