Business

Next sales rise as shoppers return but online sales take a hit

Next said sales continue to grow although there has been a dip in online shopping as customers returned to stores. Picture by Ian West/PA Wire.

HIGH street fashion chain Next said sales continue to grow although there has been a dip in online shopping as customers returned to stores.

Total full price sales in the 13 weeks to the end of April were up 21.3 per cent on the same period a year ago, although online sales fell by 11 per cent.

The reason for the fall in online sales was that last year, due to lockdown measures in place, physical stores were shut.

Conversely, store sales jumped 285 per cent on the same period a year ago as a result, Next said.

However, when compared on a three-year basis - the last period before Covid hit - sales in stores remain down by 8 per cent.

Bosses said the high street bellwether remains in good shape for the rest of the year and did not downgrade forecasts as a result of further inflationary pressures.

Chief executive Lord Simon Wolfson said in March that the company is expecting to increase prices by an average of 3.7 per cent over the half-year to July.

He said pricing is expected to rise by an average of 8 per cent in the following six-month period, with fashion set for a 6.5 per cent increase.

But on Thursday there were no further suggestions that prices would rise any higher.

The company previously said it would take an £85 million hit in sales by shutting its operations in Russia and Ukraine, knocking profits by £18m for the year.

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