Next online sales up 45% amid price rise warnings

Online sales at Next have soared by 45 per cent compared to 2019, according to the retailer’s latest report which also warns of looming price rises.

In its trading statement for the 8 week period to 25 December 2021, the clothing and homewares retailer also reported that full price sales were up 20 per cent on the same period in 2019.

The strong Christmas sales period puts full year profit before tax guidance at an estimated £822 million, up 9.8 per cent in 2019.

Next said it had been expecting sales growth in Q4 to be weaker than Q3, however, a strong revival in demand for adult formal and occasionwear significantly improved sales throughout the final period.

The company said that its initial guidance for the year ending January 2023 is for full price sales to rise by 7 per cent compared to the current year (ending January 2022), with profit before tax expected to rise 4.6 per cent to £860 million.

However, Next also warned that wage inflation and manufacturing costs will lead to an uptick in like-for-like selling prices in the first and second half of 2022.

Selling price inflation for spring and summer goods is set to rise by 3.7 per cent, and autumn and winter goods will see a 6 per cent rise, according to Next’s estimates.

The statement said: “We have revised our estimates for selling price inflation in the year ahead, mainly as a result of the unanticipated persistence of higher freight rates into the back end of the year ahead, along with some further increases in manufacturing costs.

"In addition to the increases in the cost of our goods, we are also experiencing increases in UK operating costs, mainly as a result of UK wage inflation."

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