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Next Reports 1.5% Rise in Festive Sales

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Next has reported on sales for the key Christmas trading period, covering Sunday 28th October to Saturday 29th December. 

Sales were in line with the guidance given by Next in September's half-year sales update and were up 1.5% on last year's figures.

The company reported strong sales in the three weeks prior to Christmas and the half-term holiday week at the end of October, but advised of disappointing sales in November.  

Total full price sales were in line with expectations, online sales (including interest income) were £17m (+2.2%) ahead of expectations and Retail sales were £16m (‐1.7%) below.

Text from the update follows and you can download the full publication, here:

End‐of‐Season Sale
Stock in our end‐of‐season Sale (including the stock we put into our Black Friday event) was up +3% on last year. Clearance rates are broadly in line with our expectations and are consistent with the profit guidance given in September.

Next year, our central guidance for full price sales growth (including interest income) is +1.7%, in line with the second half performance of the current financial year.  In the year ahead, we are assuming a similar economic environment as that experienced in the second half of the current year.  Within this guidance, we expect Retail sales to be down ‐8.5% and Online sales to be up +11%.   

Any sales forecast made in January comes with a high degree of uncertainty.  This year uncertainty around the performance of the UK economy after Brexit makes forecasting particularly difficult. 

We have not factored into our sales estimates the potential benefits of a smooth transition or the downsides of a disorderly Brexit. 

Profit, Cash Flow and EPS
At this level of sales growth, we anticipate Group profit would be £715m, a decline of 1% on the profit forecast for the current financial year.  We anticipate that the Company will remain strongly cash generative and our forecast for capital expenditure in the year ahead remains in line with the guidance given in September.  At our central guidance, we estimate surplus cash generation of £300m. 

Full year estimate to January 2019 
Total full price sales versus 2017/18:  +3.2%
Group profit before tax:  £723m
Group profit before tax versus 2017/18:  ‐ 0.4% Earnings Per Share growth versus 2017/18:  +4.4%

Full year estimate to January 2020
Total full price sales versus 2018/19:  +1.7%
Group profit before tax:  £715m
Group profit before tax versus 2018/19:  ‐ 1.1%
Earnings Per Share growth versus 2018/19: +3.6%

Source : Insight DIY Team and Next

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03 January 2019

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