Next digital channels exceed expectations while in store sales climb

Next has reported positive sales growth of 21.3% in its latest trading statement for the 13 weeks to 30 April.

In-store sales were up 285% compared with the previous year when the high street was still affected by lockdowns.

Online sales were up 47% on two-year comparisons, but the UK online channel was 24% down for the period, despite digital third-party label sales climbing 20% and 106% on pre-Covid times.

Total online sales for the period were down 11% and international ecommerce sales were down 12%.

Total product full-price sales were up 22% for the period, while finance-interest income was up 11%.

In the coming period, Next said it was maintaining its full-year profit before tax expectations of £850m, a 3.3% increase year-on-year.

The fashion retailer expects trading to become tougher as headwinds batter the retail sector.

If it wants to still achieve its profit expectations. it must report a sales increase of just 0.8% compared with last year between the second and fourth quarters.

Company chief executive Lord Simon Wolfson said in March that the company is expecting to increase prices by an average of 3.7% over the half-year to July.

He said pricing is expected to rise by an average of 8% in the following six-month period, with fashion set for a 6.5% increase.

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