As retail sales recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic, online growth reverted back to its longer term trajectory, the retailer said.
As a result, sales performance exceeded expectations by £50 million, resulting in a raise of its profit guidance to £860 million, an increase of £10 million.
In the second quarter to 30 July, full price sales were up 5% compared to the same period last year, and leapt 23.8% higher compared to 2019, before the pandemic struck.
“Last year, our stores were closed for most of the first quarter. Even when they reopened we believe that many customers remained wary of visiting shops. During this time we think online shopping was inflated by at least as much as retail sales were depressed,” the retailer said.
Next also reported in its first half, compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of its online business over the last three years is very similar to the CAGR experienced in the three year period pre-covid.
In the three years from July 2019 to July 2022, the retailer reported a 13.4% increase in CAGR, compared to 12.6% in 2016/17 to 2019/20.
As anticipated, returns rates have reverted and are currently close to pre-pandemic levels at 42%, Next said.