Next has seen a 4.5% rise in full-price first quarter sales, beating its own 3.2% forecast, thanks to warm weather over Easter and a boom in online.
Next, which has 500 stores across the UK and Ireland, 40 international stores and a thriving online directory business, saw full price sales drop by 3.6% in the 13 weeks to 27 April, but logged a healthy 11.8% rise in online sales.
“We always expected the first quarter to be good this year because it was hampered a lot by the weather last year, with all those blizzards, and then towards the end we were given a further boost by the very warm Easter,” Chief Executive Simon Wolfson told Reuters in a results call today.
While the figures took everyone, including the company, by surprise, Next is maintaining sales and profit guidance for 2019-20 of 1.7% full-price sales growth and a 1.1% £ 715 million.
Catherine Shuttleworth, an analyst at Savvy, comments: “The sun has certainly been shining in next as sales are up 4.5 percent versus last year. But just like the unpredictable British weather – next realises UK shoppers are unpredictable too and is sensibly not putting out any bunting yet and keeping its full year guidance the same. But what’s clear is that UK high streets and retailers need the sunshine more than ever in 2019.”