Next says that its sales for the past 11 weeks are “materially ahead of expectations”, with total online sales across the company growing 56% in the first half of 2021.
Total sales across the group rose 18.6% against 2019 in Q2 and are way ahead of the fashion retailer’s 3% prediction.
Online, the retailer saw sales rise 47% across H1 21, with 63% growth in Q1 and 28% in Q2. Its online Label UK saw sales up 68% across the half, while overseas online sales rose 64%. In total, online sales were up 56% in the half.
As a result, the retailer is increasing its central guidance for full year profit before tax by +£30m to £750m. The company has also increased its full price sales guidance for the rest of the year from 3% to 6% and has also decided to repay £29m of business rates relief to the government.
Next believes that pent-up demand for summer clothing has helped drive the surge in sales, offset by slowing shopping during the hot spell in late-May and early-June. The trend for ‘staycationing’ and ‘no-cationing’ has also increased consumer spending, says the retailer.
The biggest winners were in Next-branded homewares, which saw 25% growth in H1, and in sales of third party brands which rose 66%. Conversely, Next-branded adult clothing dropped 27%. Overseas, online sales of all Next items rose 64% in the half.