Belfast Telegraph

Next hopeful of big boost in its profits thanks to the UK heatwave

By Staff Reporter

Shares in Next have jumped as the retailer upgraded its annual profits forecast following a sales boost from the recent heatwave.

The group, which has around 20 stores in Northern Ireland, said that unusually warm weather in recent weeks, which resulted in a "sales over-performance", will add around £12m to its full year profit.

In a first quarter trading update, Next saw full price sales rise 6% in the 14 weeks to May 7, with online revenue growing 18%.

Shares rocketed over 6% following the update.

"Sales in the first quarter were better than we expected and around £40m ahead of our internal forecast, boosted in recent weeks by unusually warm weather," it said.

"This sales over-performance adds around £12m to our full year profit and we are therefore increasing our central guidance for group profit accordingly."

It means that Next is pencilling in full year profits of £717m, up 2.2% from £705m.

However, the figures also show that sales at its high street stores were down 4.8%, reflecting the wider malaise in the retail sector.

Richard Lim of Retail Economics said the results should be put in context.

He said: "The story of continuous structural challenges underlies the narrative for these results. In-store sales continued to spiral downwards indicating the relentless shift towards online shopping.

"This reflects the real challenge for many high street retailers who are oversupplied with physical space while consumers increasingly spend both their time and money away from traditional high streets."

Belfast Telegraph

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