• Q3 Next brand sales up 2.2%
  • Retail like-for-likes fall 3.3%
  • Warns that prices will rise more than expected

Fashion retailer Next’s branded sales were up 2.2% in the third quarter, towards the upper end of its forecast range of 0-3%.

A strong performance from the UK company’s online and Directory businesses helped offset a 3.3% decline in Next Retail like-for-likes and a 0.3% decline in total retail sales.

Next maintained its full-year brand sales guidance range of 0-3%, despite the prospect of tougher comparatives in the fourth quarter.

The company’s forecast pre-tax profit remained unchanged at GBP535-560m (US$863-903m).

Next also warned that recent rises in the price of cotton would probably leave retail price increases in the first quarter of next year at the upper end of its 5-8% range.

“The longevity of what appears to be a speculative bubble in cotton prices will be critical in determining prices for the second quarter,” Next said.