The group, which is the first of the major retailers to update on its festive performance, lowered its profits guidance for the full year as it said shoppers had left “winter weight” clothing on the shelves.
“This quarter was unusual in that we didn’t have any cold weeks. There’s not a lot you can do. When it’s warm in winter people don’t buy T-shirts and shorts,” said chief executive Lord Wolfson.
Full price sales at the group’s high street chain fell by 0.5% between 26 October and 24 December while sales at the #Next’s catalogue and online business, Directory, rose just 2%. Overall sales were up by 0.4%, below City forecasts of around 4%.
Wolfson said increasing competition online – in terms of delivery options and discounting – and poor product availability had also hit performance. “A lot of competitors have got their act together this year. It is partly about delivery cut-off times while this time last year quite a few people had operational issues and that didn’t happen again.”
— Graeme Wearden (@graemewearden) January 5, 2016 Next blames “unusually warm weather” for disappointing performance over Christmas, and here’s the proof: pic.twitter.com/qKdGbEcpsk