Have a good Christmas? Next did
Next sales were up 2.9% in the two months to Christmas Eve, which was at the top end of revised sales guidance provided by the company when it issued a profit warning in October.
Next's chief executive Simon Wolfson was unsurprisingly quite jolly, and said: “Christmas was definitely back-ended. Part of the reason was the weather was so clement all through November that Christmas almost took people by surprise when it came. As soon as the weather turned cold [at November’s end] we saw our sales move back in line with expectations.”
Sales at the chain's stores nudged slightly upwards by 0.5%, and sales at the Directory home shopping area, were up by 7.5%. Next refrained from partaking in the Black Friday kerfuffle, and didn't run any promotions prior to Christmas.
Wolfe isn't in a hurry to change this either “It is what it is,” he said of the raft of pre-Christmas sales. “We just have to make sure our budgets and forecasts are relevant in the context of that environment.”
Saunders said Next’s figures reflected the wider trend over Christmas, with retailers’ sales bolstered by online stores and services such as click and collect.
Next have said they remain cautious when drawing up its sales budgets for the new financial year, with the group pencilling in growth of between 2.5% and 7.5%. Profits were expected to grow in line with sales.