• Full price sales for the 14 weeks ended 7 May were up 6% on last year.
  • Sales in its online business were particularly strong, up 18.1%.
  • Group profit before tax is expected to hit GBP717m for the full year.
Next benefited from the warm weather in April, which lifted sales

Next benefited from the warm weather in April, which lifted sales

Warm weather in April led to a strong start to the year for Next as it booked better than expected sales in its first-quarter.

Full price sales for the 14 weeks ended 7 May were up 6% on last year, the retailer reported in its latest trading update. Sales in its online business were particularly strong, up 18.1%, driven by the growth of Next branded stock and third-party brands on its UK platform, along with continued growth from its overseas business.

Next said sales in the quarter were better than expected and around GBP40m (US$54.3m) ahead of the retailer's internal forecast, boosted in recent weeks by unusually warm weather.

The sales over-performance adds around GBP12m to Next's full-year profit, leading the retailer to increase its central guidance for group earnings.

Group profit before tax is expected to hit GBP717m, compared to previous guidance of GBP705m. Total full price sales are forecast to be up 2.2% against a previous prediction of 1% growth.

Sofie Willmott, senior retail analyst at GlobalData, says the results offer a positive start to the financial year for Next.

"Although Next's results may offer a glimmer of hope to struggling UK retailers, the shift in consumer spend to online is evident, with the online channel driving total sales. Given that Next generates now almost half its revenue from e-commerce, a strong performance online is enough to generate overall positive sales. However, for other multichannel retailers such as Debenhams, heavy reliance on stores means total sales are dragged down by their poor performance."