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Multichannel retailers report slowing sales growth in the face of unseasonal weather

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Multichannel retailers this week reported that unseasonably warm weather was continuing to hit their sales. Online sales, however, appeared to have held up against the impact better than other channels.

John Lewis, reporting sales figures for the week to October 25, today said “balmy temperatures” had affected the sale of cold weather products. “At times during the week the weather was almost 10 degrees warmer than the same time last year,” said Paula Nickolds, the retailer’s buying and brand director. “Overall though we ended a creditable 8.3% up, with shops up 2.7% and online up 22.5%.” In the 13 weeks of the financial year-to-date, sales through johnlewis.com have grown by 23.9%.

Earlier in the week, Next reported online sales put in double digit growth in the third quarter of its financial year, despite unseasonal weather that put shoppers off from buying.

Retail sales grew by 5.4% in the period to October 25, with year-to-date sales up by 5.8%. Predominantly online directory sales, however, were up by 9.7%, with year-to-date sales of 13.7%. Overall, total sales were up by 5.4%, and 8.8% in the year so far.

Next said it would now expect full-year retail sales to grow by between 6% and 8% during the year – lower than previously forecast – while pre-tax profits were forecast at between £750m and £790m, between 8% and 14% up on the same time last year.

Multichannel retailer SuperGroup , which sells its Superdry brand online and through shops, also today reported sales hit by the warm weather in the 13 weeks to October 25. Sales in the period rose by 4.5%, compared to 9% in the half-year to the same date, with retail sales up by 11.4%, compared to half-year growth of 12.4%. In its statement, it said an exceptional period of warm weather across the UK and the rest of Europe in September and October had resulted in “a high degree of uncertainty around the future performance of the autumn/winter range, particularly outerwear which is a significant part of the Superdry product mix.” It was, therefore, revising full-year profit estimates to between £60m and £65m.

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