Sales of Next excluding VAT for the first quarter ending May 4, 2013, were up 2.2 percent. Retail sales were down 1.9 percent.
The brand considers the overall number of 2.2 percent as the best guide for future performance and it remains cautious about the consumer environment. The brand anticipates that the continuing decline in real earnings will depress discretionary spending for at least the next eighteen months. Trading was volatile and particularly poor through March and early April. The marked upturn in sales in mid-April corresponded to the break in the very cold weather. The poor March figures were due to an abnormally cold spring. The good weeks since mid April have been boosted by pent-up demand from the previous month.
For the full year to January 2014, Next remains confident in its sales guidance range of 1 percent to 4 percent.