Next upbeat after toughest trading in 25 years

Retailer expects more ‘benign’ pricing environment in coming year

Shoppers with Next  bags on Oxford Street, London.  Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Shoppers with Next bags on Oxford Street, London. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

 

Clothing retailer Next said it sees a more favourable pricing environment in the coming year after a tough 12 months in which retail failures piled up on British high streets.

The company now expects full-price sales growth of 1 per cent in fiscal 2019, ending in January, up from 0.7 per cent in 2018, Britain’s second largest clothing retailer said on Friday in a statement.

Still, the company expects retail margins in the fiscal year to fall mainly as a result of lower like-for-like sales.

Next shares rose as much as 8.6 per cent to 5,030p in London trading before easing to 4990p, up 7.8 per cent..

“In many ways 2017 was the most challenging year we have faced for 25 years,” chief executive Simon Wolfson said in the statement. “A difficult clothing market coincided with self-inflicted product ranging errors and omissions.”

Mr Wolfson said he sees pricing becoming more “benign” in the coming year as the effects of the pound’s devaluation wear off.

While retail full-price sales fell 7 per cent, online full-price sales rose. – Bloomberg