Mar 21, 2019

Next: Brexit hasn’t changed consumer behaviour

"We can see no evidence that the uncertainty is affecting consumer behaviour in our sector," it said in a typically detailed annual results statement. His comments came as the retailer predicted pre-tax profit of £715m and sales growth of 1.7 per cent for the current financial year. Lord Wolfson, its chief executive of 18 years, has capitalised on the company's catalogue retailing heritage and credit operation to push into online sales that, if finance income is included, exceeded store sales for the first time in a full financial year. The company's updated "15-year stress test" showed that if store sales fell 10 per cent a year for 15 years - last year they were down about 8 per cent - the estate would shrink from 507 stores now to some 150 by 2034. The model assumes that rents would fall 5 per cent a year from 2023, so that by 2034 they would be just 41 per cent of today's levels.

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