Full-price sales were “better than anticipated” in the 13 weeks to 27 July, Next has reported, driven by strong online trading and a spike from its end-of-season Sale.
The retailer said total full-price sales in the second quarter of 2019 were up 4% on last year. This is compares with the negative guidance of -0.5% given in its May trading statement.
Total sales, including markdown sales, were up 3.8% during the quarter.
Online sales rose 12%, but in-store retail sales fell by 4.2%.
Next said July was a particularly strong month – sales were up 6.8% year on year – but this was driven by its end-of-season Sale, which started on 6 July. Surplus stock going into the Sale was down 1% on last year.
Total full-price sales for the first half (26 weeks to 27 July) were up 4.3%.
Following the better than expected sales performance in the second quarter, Next is increasing its full-price sales guidance for the second half from an increase of 1.7% to 3%.
Next also said the increase in its full-price sales guidance is £70m and, after accounting for associated costs, is expected to add £20m to profit. Lower clearance rates to date, along with anticipated lower clearance rates in the second half, are forecast to cost an additional £10m.
As a result, the company is increasing its guidance for full year group profit before tax by £10m to £725m.