Next lowers full year profit forecast

Next has reduced its full year sales and profit expectations after unseasonably warm weather deterred shoppers from buying its winter ranges.

The retailer said sales for the third quarter were up 5.4%, half its original expectation of +10%.

As a result it has reduced its central profit guidance by 3% from £795m to £770m.

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On 30 September Next advised that it would reduce its sales and profit expectations if colder weather did not materialise during October.

In an interim statement published today, it said: “Whilst a cool August meant that the season started well, this was more than offset by much weaker sales in September and October.”

Planet Retail senior retail analyst Stephen Springham commented on the results: “Next’s Q3 trading performance is a testament to the underlying strength of the business. The autumn season to date has undoubtedly been very testing for the UK fashion sector as a whole. There is always an element of crying wolf when clothing retailers point to the weather as an excuse for poor performance, but September’s Indian summer came at the worst possible time for anyone trying to peddle warmer outerwear to shoppers, while October only offered limited respite.

“Next had already advised that sales had been slower than anticipated. Nevertheless, 5-6% growth would be highly creditable against the wider market backdrop. As ever, the growth figures for Next Directory (the e-commerce arm) will eclipse those of Next Retail (the high street business). But it would be wrong to read too much into this."

Next intends to issue its usual sales update for the period to 24 December 2014 on December 30.



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