Next reports that total sales including markdown sales for the year to date are up +0.4% on last year. Markdown sales grew faster than full-price sales due to a much larger end-of-season sale in July, while full price sales for the year to date are -1.5% on last year.
For the third quarter, August full-price sales were subdued following the July sale, and in September Next traded against its best month last year. October sales improved significantly, as comparative weeks last year became less challenging.
Overall, Next's sales guidance has been revised downwards, but because cost savings have also been better than expected, the retailer's central profit forecast remains unchanged.
Martin Lane, a representative at www.money.co.uk, comments: “Our shopping habits have changed drastically in the past decade and Next has done little to keep up in a fiercely competitive market. They have some serious work to do to shift their brand image and attract new customers.
“The unusually mild weather for this time of the year has dampened shoppers' desire for warm winter clothing and added extra pressure at a time when Next is already struggling. Add into the mix rising wage costs and sterling taking a nose dive and Next clearly have their work cut out if they are to ride out these stormy seas ahead.”