retail

Next rings up bumper Christmas as online sales surge boosts profits


Next rang up £70m more sales than expected over Christmas as a surge in online orders of party dresses and occasionwear made up for lower trade in stores.

The fashion and homewares chain is the first retailer to report its Christmas trading results, potentially giving an indication of how the high street fared in the biggest sales period of the year.

The group said it now expected to make £822m in annual profits, £22m more than previously hoped for and almost 10% ahead of pre-pandemic levels, in its fifth increase in guidance in less than a year.

In the eight weeks to Christmas Day, Next said its sales rose 20% on 2019 – before the pandemic – despite suffering “materially lower” levels of stocks than it had hoped for while its delivery service had struggled because of labour shortages in its warehouses and distribution networks.

“The fact that our sales remained so robust in these circumstances is, we believe, testament to the strength of underlying consumer demand in the period,” the company said in a statement.

More details to follow …



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