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Next first quarter sales jump as it maintains profit guidance

Next has maintained its profit guidance for the year after its sales jumped 21.3% in its first quarter.

The retailer said this was in line with expectations and is still on track for pre-tax profit to hit £850 million for the year, which is up 3.3% on last year.

Next had edged down its profit forecasts by £10 million for the year at the time of its full-year results in March due to the “unusually high level of geopolitical and economic uncertainty”.

The retailer’s impressive sales jump comes against a period when its shops were closed during lockdown for much of the first quarter.

Sales from Next’s retail stores were up 285% on last year but against it’s 2019/20 year – the most recent year not impacted by Covid – retail sales were down 8%.

Ecommerce sales were down 11% year on year, as store closures drove people online last year. Against three years ago, online was up 47%.

Label, Next’s third-party branded online business, was the star performer online, up 20% year-on-year, or 106% against pre-Covid levels.

By comparison, Next’s own brand online business was down 24% year on year in the UK, but up 23% on pre-Covid levels.

Next expects total full-price sales to be up between 2% and 8% in its current year, and profits to fall between £795 million and £895 million.

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