Suffolk shoppers praise Next stores as company bucks lockdown loss trends

Next stock image Picture: DAVID VINCENT

Shoppers in Suffolk have praised Next, as the national company predicts more than £600million in profits - Credit: Archant

Shoppers in Suffolk have praised clothing and homeware store Next, which looks to have been one of few retail winners over Christmas.

The chain, which has stores in Martlesham, Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft in Suffolk - as well as Colchester, Clacton and Braintree in north Essex - is keeping stores open for click and collect orders.

Bosses at the company said the festive period was better than expected and are forecasting profits of £670million for 2021/22. Share prices boosted by 8% after the figure was revealed earlier this month, with shares now standing at £79.82, with Christmas sales dropping by just 1.1% year-on-year, compared to the 8% predicted.

Other high street stalwarts such as Primark have struggled, with the popular clothing chain losing £540m in retail sales over the the Christmas quarter.

Among the most popular reason behind the shop's personality among readers is for the wide range of children's clothes, while others said newly available brands in-store such as Ted Baker make it a popular choice.

One reader said: "I shop at Next for the kids clothes, the clothes are great quality and reasonably priced.

"The staff in the shop are friendly and helpful and the Covid set-up was great – one way in, one way out and hand sanitiser is everywhere in the shop.

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"I also have the unlimited delivery pass so it’s easy to order and return if needed."

Another shopper said the free parking stores offer - unlike town centres - make it a preferred choice to shop.

They said: "I love the clothes and when I order click and collect online, I don't have to pay parking like in the town centre to pick up my order."

Another said: "As a company they’ve always been ahead of the game. Very early on they had the directory and moving over to online shopping was an easy step, as the infrastructure was already there.

"Their strategy to sales is different, they advertise well and it lasts only a short while in store. It generates an interest in the first place and if sales are not your thing, it’s over quickly before the new season stock arrives.

"It is one of the few remaining stores that is worth visiting!"

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