Next challenges high street trends with expected report of sales growth

PUBLISHED: 12:42 26 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:42 26 October 2018

The Next store in Norwich. Picture: Denise Bradley

The Next store in Norwich. Picture: Denise Bradley

copyright: Archant 2013

High street retailer Next is expected to report growth in full-price sales next week, as investors keep their fingers crossed for the chain to repeat its bumper second quarter.

On Wednesday, Next is expected to report growth of 1.1% in the third quarter.

However to avoid the woes which have befallen competitor Debenhams, Next will need to perform well over the Black Friday, Christmas and New Year trading period.

Next has stores across the region, with two in Norwich’s city centre, one in Costessey, two in King’s Lynn, one in Great Yarmouth and one in Lowestoft.

Where retail experts have said that Debenhams has failed as a result of poor online presence and unattractive consumer experiences in store, Next has flourished.

George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Next’s been one of the frontrunners for online shopping, and sales rose almost 17% in the first half of the year. The web is a crowded marketplace these days though, so, while it’s good to see strides being made, it’s important Next maintains strong growth.

“Investors will have fingers on the pulse of physical stores too. Like-for-like figures haven’t been showing many signs of life lately, but the group’s been offsetting this by opening new sales space. Given the high street climate, we’ll be keeping a close eye on progress.”

Next upgraded its profit expectations for the year following a strong second quarter, which saw full-price sales up by 2.8%,

Shares in Next jumped to 5,518p in September following the announcement of its profit upgrade, but the price has since dipped to trade at 5,156p on Friday.

Graham Spooner, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, said: “This update comes as the company approaches Black Friday and the crucial Christmas and New Year trading period, so any comments about the strategy relating to discounting will be of interest.”

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