Full price sales at high street giant Next grew by 3.1% to £4.2bn for the year to 26 January 2019, with falling retail sales offset by a buoyant year for ecommerce.
Total retail sales fell by 7.9% to £1.95bn for the period, with online sales growing by 14.7% to hit £1.92bn.
Operating profit rose by 0.3% to £762m, but profit before tax inched down 0.4% to £722.9m.
In the results, Next acknowledged that the boom in online shopping “represents a long-term threat to our retail business but potentially, a much larger opportunity for the group as a whole”.
As such, omnichannel integration, management and reduction of retail costs, renegotiation of leases or relocation and closures of stores were all flagged as priorities in minimising retail losses in the future.
For online, Next plans to increase its reach by gaining access to stock in its partners’ warehouses – meaning Next online orders are fulfilled from brand warehouses.
Other focuses for the year to January 2020 include the development of operational capabilities, growth of the third party business and improving the functionality of the Next website.