Next’s online strength drives 17% sales rise in latest quarter

LONDON (Reuters) -British clothing retailer Next beat guidance with a 17% rise in third-quarter full-price sales compared to 2019, before the pandemic disrupted trading, but maintained its full-year profit guidance as it thinks growth will slow.

Next, which trades from about 500 stores and online, had reported in September that full-price sales in the first eight weeks of its fiscal third quarter had risen 20%.

It said on Wednesday they had risen 14% in the final five weeks of the period to Oct. 30. This was ahead of its forecast of 10% growth.

Third-quarter online sales rose 40%, while store sales were down 6.1%.

However, Next kept its guidance for full-price sales in the fourth quarter to rise 10% versus 2019-20 and for a full-year pretax profit of 800 million pounds ($1.1 billion), up 6.9% compared to 2019-20.

“We do not expect sales to continue at the level seen in Q3,” it said.

(Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle)

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