May 4, 2017

Next shares slide as it cuts profit forecast

Next shares fell sharply on Thursday after the British clothing chain revealed an 8.1 per cent decline in full-price store sales, and told investors not to expect profits to come close to last year's already diminished result. The retailer met some of its own grimmer expectations in the three months ending in April, with full-price sales shrinking 3 per cent, and total sales declining 2.5 per cent, with a hefty pullback in revenues at its high street stores partly offset by growth from its website and catalogues. Profits would be at least 6.4 per cent lower than last year, the company said, quashing previous guidance that the decline might be limited to about 1.3 per cent. "The UK consumer environment remains challenging, particularly in the clothing and homeware markets, and real wage growth is now close to zero," Next noted in its trading statement. The company's shares were down 5 per cent on Thursday morning in London, at £41.88.

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