Warm weather boosts Next

Next: fashion retailer's sales boosted by warm spring (photo: Colin Stout)
Next: fashion retailer's sales boosted by warm spring (photo: Colin Stout)

The warm weather has delivered Next a surprise boost in its first quarter, with sales up 5.2% - more than double the growth of best estimates -- driven by a 14.1% increase in catalogue sales.

In March, the high-street fashion retailer estimated growth for the first half of the year would be between -0.5% and 2.5%. The company estimates it will now post full-year profits of £535m to £585m – £15m ahead of estimates given in March.

In a statement today (4 May), the company said: "We estimate that at least 2.5% of the over-performance came as a result of exceptionally warm weather over Easter, and spending in anticipation of the Royal Wedding Bank Holiday.

"We believe these factors have encouraged consumers to bring forward summer purchases and we do not expect the current levels of growth to continue into the second quarter. We now expect total Next brand sales for the first half to be in the range +1.5% to +4%."

The company also believes improved stock and range, particularly in womenswear, to be a significant factor contributing to the good performance, in sharp contrast to a poor performance in the final quarter of 2010/11, when the company claimed snow dampened sales.

Despite the boost from a summer-like spring, the company remains cautious.

"The combined effects of the public sector deficit cuts and continued inflation in essential commodities are all likely to restrain growth in consumer spending generally," the statement read.

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