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Next cuts profit forecast

Next spring 2019 fashion range
Next spring 2019 fashion range

Fashion chain Next has cut its annual profits forecast despite a solid Christmas performance.

The group said full-price sales rose 1.5% between October 28 and December 29, in line with expectations.

Store sales slumped by 9.2% over the festive trading period but this was offset by a 15.2% surge online.

Next downgraded its profits outlook to £723 million for the year to January 2019, from the £727m previously expected, and said it would remain under pressure during 2019.

It reported higher sales of seasonal products, such as personalised gifts and beauty products, which have a lower profit margin than its clothing ranges. The group also faced higher operational costs on online sales.

John Moore, senior investment manager at Brewin Dolphin Scotland, said it was a “resilient” trading performance.

He added: “After fears over the health of some retailers during the festive period, these latest results from Next will be reassuring for many who watch the company.

“Although retail sales were 1.7% below expectations, online picked up the slack by coming in 2.2% better-than-anticipated and full-price sales rose 1.5% between October 28 and December 29.”

Next predicted profits for the year to January 2020 will fall by 1% to £715m.

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