LONDON: British clothing retailer Next on Thursday reported a return to quarterly sales growth, helped by an improvement in product ranges, a better online offer and a spell of warm weather.
Next, which reduced profit guidance in January and May, said full price sales rose 0.7 percent in the second quarter to July 29. That compares to a fall of 3.0 percent in the previous quarter.
The firm said it remained cautious on the consumer outlook.
Britain’s most successful clothing store chain this century has faltered over the last two years, suffering from a broader slowdown in spending on clothing and footwear that it first identified in late 2015. Its shares have fallen 20 percent over the last year.
It has previously cautioned that sales would likely be depressed this year by a squeeze in consumer spending as inflation erodes real earnings growth, and by price rises on garments due to the pound’s devaluation.
Full price second quarter sales at Next Retail fell 7.4 percent, but they were up 11.4 percent at the Directory catalogue and internet business, with strong sales both in the UK and overseas.
Next narrowed its sales guidance range for the full 2017-18 year to down 3.0 percent to up 0.5 percent from down 3.5 percent to up 0.5 percent previously.
Profit guidance of 680-740 million pounds was maintained.
Such an outcome would represent a second straight year of decline.