Sales improve

‘Benign’ festive trading sees Next raise guidance

Next says consumer environment is more benign than for some time (pic: Terry Murden)

High street fashion chain Next said sales pre-Christmas sales had been better than expected, up in the nine weeks to 30 December by 5.7% on 2022. 

This was £38m above previous guidance of 2% for the period and will raise hopes that other retailers enjoyed a more robust festive season than had been feared.

The company said: “On the face of it, the consumer environment looks more benign than it has for a number of years, albeit there are some significant uncertainties.”

On the back of the today’s trading statement, Next increased its full-year profit before tax guidance by £20m or 4% to £905m. For the 2024/25 period it is guiding for group profit before tax to be up 5%.

For the end-of-season sale the company said stock has been well controlled.  “We went into the end-of-season sale with 12% less surplus stock than last year.  We expect clearance rates over the life of the sale to be broadly in line with last year.”

It added: “Cash generation remains strong in the year and we anticipate that we will generate circa £100m more surplus cash than the previous guidance given in September.”

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