Next has revealed that during the peak Christmas period to 25 December 2021, the retailer recorded £70m more sales than previously expected.
As a result of the uptake in sales, the group has increased its full-year pre-tax guidance by £22m to £822m.
The group was originally expecting sales growth in Q4 to be “weaker” than Q3. However, a “strong” revival in adult formal and occasion wear improved sales throughout the final period by 20% compared with 2019.
In the run up to Christmas, stock levels were “materially lower” than planned, with the retailer also experiencing some “degradation” in delivery service levels as a result of labour shortfalls in warehousing and distribution networks.
Meanwhile, the group stated that it now expects to generate at least £345m of free cash, before shareholder distributions.
The retailer said: “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.”