REPORT_ Next Brand sales in the first half were up 2.3 percent. The company continued to experience the weekly sales volatility seen in the first quarter. Full price sales for the first 26 weeks were in the top half of the full year forecast. More importantly, the reduction in residual stock resulted in much lower markdown costs.
Full price sales were somewhat better than the headline figure as a result of a much smaller end of season sale. Prior to the start of sale on July 13, sales were 3.7 percent ahead of last year. Next Brand went into sale with 20 percent less stock than last year, clearance rates improved and markdown sales were down only 13 percent.
The company expects little change to the consumer environment and so is issuing the same sales guidance for the second half as it did for the first. It expects sales for the full year to be in the range of 1.5 to 3.5 percent.