Mar 23, 2017

Next sees first annual profit fall in eight years

Pre-tax profit at the clothing and homeware retailer dropped 5.5% from £836.1m to £790.2m last year. The profit fall in 2016 is the first for the retailer since the financial crisis of 2008. Its online and catalogue business did better, with sales growing 4% to £1.7bn. Next chairman John Barton said: "Trading conditions in the year ahead will continue to be tough, however I believe that by focusing on our core strengths, as we did during 2008, we will see Next emerge from this period stronger than before." Next has "Had a remarkable record of out-performing its main competitors", especially M&S, in the past eight years, said Bryan Roberts of retail consultancy TCC Global. The "General malaise" for retailers is now catching up with them, Mr Roberts told the BBC. "We're spending less money on things and more on experiences or leisure," he said, adding that rising inflation and slowing growth in wages was also putting retailers under pressure.

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