Next is expected to announce a 3.1% increase in total sales for its first half tomorrow (July 28), despite a slowdown in revenue from its Next Directory arm.
According to The Sunday Times, Next’s mail order division will report a drop in sales growth from 9.2% in the first quarter to 4.7% for the second quarter.
Next’s broker UBS told the newspaper the decrease in sales growth could be attributed to an earlier launch of its “new in” brochure and a warm April followed by cold weather in May.
However, Tony Shiret, head of general retail at investment bank Espirito Santo, said the catalogue business – which has the highest margin of Next’s overall business – could be on its way out.
He told The Sunday Times: “The overall issue is that the directory is going ex-growth in the UK. Anything below 5% will get people talking about its prospects.”