Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 14°C

ESTD 1874 Search

UK: Next and Waitrose post strong festive trading updates

11:19 03 January 2013

Next today posted a 3.9% rise in sales for November and December

Next today posted a 3.9% rise in sales for November and December

FASHION and home wares retailer Next said today it had continued to weather the tough trading conditions on the high street as it posted a 3.9% increase in sales for November and December.

shares

Next said its performance over the festive period meant it was on track for profits growth at the top end of expectations.

The group was driven by a strong online performance, with Directory revenues rising by 11.2% between November 1 and December 24, but its store sales were better than many City expectations, at 0.8% higher than a year ago.

Despite the progress, however, chief executive Simon Wolfson warned trading conditions were likely to remain difficult this year as wage growth continues to lag behind inflation.

He said: “On balance, we expect the consumer environment to remain subdued but steady.”

Next said group pre-tax profits for the year to January were now expected to jump by between 7.1% and 9.6%, taking the figure to between £611million and £625m.

It said the better-than-expected performance reflected cost controls, less marked-down stock in the end of the season sale and better margins.

Freddie George, research analyst at Seymour Pierce stockbrokers, said: “We believe the company was one of the winners over Christmas, helped by a strong range geared to the colder weather.”

Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said the Directory business remained the “jewel in the crown” of Next.

But he said: “On a more cautious note, the company remains embroiled in a fiercely competitive sector where the consumer is acutely aware of making cost-conscious decisions.”

Next, which has more than 500 shops, plans to create a further 250,000sq ft of retail space this year, including a net increase of 10 new shops, and will continue to grow its Directory operation in the UK and overseas.

It has forecast sales growth of between 1.5% and 4% for the forthcoming financial year, with underlying profits up by a similar level.

Yesterday’s statement from Next maintains an up-beat start to the festive trading update period, with department stores chain John Lewis having kicked off the season yesterday with a 13% increase in like-for-like sales after a record pre-Christmas week and a milestone online performance.

Today, Waitrose, the John Lew Partnership’s supermarket business, reported “exceptional” sales in the run up to New Year’s Eve as shoppers stocked up on champagne and party food.

The grocer, which has 288 shops across the country, said like-for-like sales were 5.4% higher than last year between December 18 and 31 as shoppers prepared to entertain friends and family during the festive period.

With demand for fresh food also strong, total sales in the 12 day period broke the £300million barrier for the first time following an 8.8% rise.

Managing director Mark Price said: “Our sales for the festive period as a whole have been record-breaking, but the 12 trading days leading up to New Year’s Eve were exceptional as customers got ready for family entertaining and parties.”

Waitrose had already reported last week that in its Christmas trading period, between November 4 and December 24, sales were up 4.3% on a like-for-like basis.

The figures come ahead of Christmas trading updates from three of the country’s biggest supermarkets – Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – next week. High street food and clothes giant Marks & Spencer will also update the City.

shares

0 comments

The Birketts Tour de Wellbeing cycle team, from left, Matthew Potter, Ben Burt, Jolyon Berry (front) Greg Jones and Tom Shape.

Members of the employment team at regional law firm Birketts raised more than £1,000 for Breast Cancer Care by taking part in the Tour de Wellbeing virtual cycle race, held by EMCOR UK to coincide with the Tour de France.

The head office of BT, the BT Centre, in Newgate Street, central London.

Thousands of BT workers are to share in a £265million payout under share-related savings schemes which will see some employees making gains of more than £54,000.

A plane in Flybe's latest purple livery.

Regional airline Flybe has confirmed its 2015-16 winter schedule to and from Stansted.

Lloyds has added £1.4billion to its bill for compensating customers mis-sold payment protection insurance.

State-backed Lloyds Banking Group’s provision for payment protection insurance mis-selling has topped £13billion after it yesterday took another £1.4billion hit over the scandal.

A computer-generated image of how the Sizewell complex will look after construction of Sizewell C.

Development of Sizewell C took a huge step forward today as the companies were announced that will build its sister nuclear power station in Somerset.

Gary Allen, operations manager,  with Diane Allen and Graham Allen at Ipswich-based Ajax Domestic Spares which is celebratiing 40 years in business.

Ajax Domestic Spares has marked 40 years in business in style by launching a new showroom in Foxhall Road, Ipswich.

The Great House restaurant with rooms in Lavenham.

An award-winning Suffolk restaurant has gained another accolade after being ranked the 26th best in the country.

Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT.

Photo: BT

BT is to pay out up to £129million to extend the Government-led roll-out of superfast broadband, after a bigger-than-expected take-up of the service.

Centrica has reignited controversy over high energy bills by announcing a 44% increase in first half profits at its British Gas retail division.

Energy giants Royal Dutch Shell and Centrica today revealed plans to axe a total of more than 12,000 jobs.

The Willis building in Ipswich.

Around 200 people are to lose their jobs at the Ipswich office of global insurance broker and risk management group Willis.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages