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Next sees sales slip

Published: 6 January 2009
High street retailer Next has reported a 7% decline in like-for-like sales for the half year to December 24 2008 - at the bottom end of its guidance range of between -4% and -7% given back in September.
Next sees sales slip
The chain took the decision to trade at full price in the run up to Christmas, despite what it's trading statement describes as "a significant increase in competitor markdown activity". The move appears to have paid off (combined with much more stringent stock control) as Next started its New Year sale with 8% less stock than last year.

Full year profits are likely to be in line with the current City view, said the company, and will show an estimated annual decline of between 5% and 10%.

The star performer was Next directory, which saw a 1.1% rise in sales for the half year, and says the company, "we expect Directory to remain less affected by the downturn". However, the chain expects 2009 to be "another challenging year" and is budgeting conservatively. "We anticipate that consumer demand will remain weak during 2009," said the statement, "although we would caution against some of the more extreme economic forecasts.

"Our focus will continue to be the development of great new ranges of well-designed, excellent quality clothing and home products." The company has also said it will continue with store refits and new openings, albeit at "lower levels than the current year".

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