Next PLC updates
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Next upgraded its forecast for the fourth time this year, predicting that profits for the year would rise to a five-year high, after trading ‘significantly outperformed’ in the first half.
The fashion and home goods chain expects pre-tax profit to rise to £ 800 million by 2021, the highest level since 2016.
Next said that since the stores reopened in mid-April, sales have been better than planned, while those made online have fallen less than expected.
Full price sales in the first half increased by 62 percent compared to a year earlier and were 8 percent before the equivalent period in 2019. During the last period of eight weeks, sales were a fifth higher than the pre-pandemic levels at the expectations of a 6 percent increase for the second half as a whole.
“The positive sales trend continued until the second half of August, despite a significant inventory shortage caused by the disruption of international supply chains by Covid-19,” he added.
Next, however, warned that disruption of the supply chain meant that stock levels were “far from optimal” and were 12 percent lower than two years ago. It is said that the situation is ‘currently improving’ and that more normal stock levels are expected by December.