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Next posts flat sales

Sales at Next Retail and Next Directory for the 14 weeks to November 7 were marginally up at 0.4% compared with the same period last year.

Next Retail sales were level with last year, but like-for-like sales in the 301 stores that were unaffected by new openings were down 2.9%. Next Directory sales were up 1.2% during the period.

The retailer said trading in the last eight weeks was significantly better than in the first six weeks, with markdowns for the period slightly less than in the same period last year. It added that it was pleased with improvements made to product ranges, marketing and stores, but remained cautious about the consumer environment, after good sales in September were followed by a disappointing October.

Next admitted that the outlook is uncertain but said its forecast for Next Retail sales remains in line with the guidance given at the company’s half year results. Next added that it expected like-for-like sales to fall between 1% and 3.5%. Directory sales are expected to be flat or up by 2% on last year.

Next said following the statement it would shift to a quarterly reporting structure under new regulations. Next will update the market post-Christmas in early January.

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