Clothing & ShoesHigh Street

Next remains ‘cautious’ despite sales increase

High street retailer Next has posted a sales increase of 4.5% for the half year ending July 2018 but said it remained “cautious” in its outlook for the rest of the year.

The retailer’s in-store sales amounted to £925.1m while its online sales were £892.3m for the six months. The total group sales was up 3.8% when compared with the previous year, while its profit before tax was up by 0.5%.

Next performed better than it expected as in January, it predicted it’s half-year sales to be 1% higher than the previous year, before increasing that slightly to 2.2% in May. It said it believed there was a “high risk” that its sales in July would be offset by losses in August but ended up not experiencing any “material loss of sales”.

In light of this, the retailer has raised its central guidance for full year profit before tax by +£10m to £727m, putting it in line with last year’s profit of £726.1m.

Lord Wolfson, chief executive, said: “The UK retail market remains volatile, subject to powerful structural and cyclical changes. Many of these headwinds have not abated. As expected, sales in our stores (which now account for just under half of our turnover) continue to be challenging.

“We believe the over-performance in the first half was flattered by the unusually warm summer and we remain cautious in our outlook for the rest of the year.”

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