Next has revealed a strong H1, with sales ahead of expectations thanks to the warm weather in Q2.
Full-price sales were up +4.5% YoY, and online sales up +15.5%, driven by growth in the retailer's overseas and third-party brands business, along with more modest growth in the UK sales of Next branded stock. In-store sales declined -5.3%.
Despite this fillip, Next is maintaining its sales and profit guidance for the year, as it believes that some of these sales will have been pulled forward from August.
Next says that the weekly sales patterns were volatile during the period, and any YoY comparisons will be distorted by the movement of its end-of-season sale in July.
It reports that cash flow remains strong, and that its plan to return £300m of surplus cash to shareholders by way of share buybacks, which it set out in January, has now been completed.