Jul 29, 2020

Next proves one of the great survivors with lockdown sales

Next can't quite be said to be thriving, when profits for the year to January 2021 are expected to be little more than a quarter of last year's. By selling assets and suspending dividends and buybacks, Next has shored up cash and reckons net debt will come down 40 per cent by the end of the year, to £650m. Sales have also held up better than Next surmised in April. Even though full price sales over the past six weeks have recovered to within 8 per cent of last year's levels, Next is sticking with the surviving not thriving theme. It reckons sales for the second half of the year will be almost 20 per cent lower than last year. Last year the FRC hit KPMG three times over: £5m for work on bank BNY Mellon's audits; £5m for insufficient professional scepticism on the 2009 Co-op Bank audit; and £6m over work on motor insurer Equity Red Star.

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