Following today’s release of Next Q3 figures for FY2020/21, Emily Stella, lead analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, comments: ‘‘Consumer demand is currently anything but constant, and Next’s weekly sales over this quarter reflect that. The retailer’s revenue spiked in August as consumers experienced renewed confidence and headed to stores with vigour after lockdown, but sales tapered off over September, only to rise again through October. Given this, Next is cautiously optimistic in the circumstances and has raised its profit guidance for the year since September, now at £365m on a central scenario.
“Online sales remain strong, comfortably outstripping the decline in physical. Of its stores, out-of-town retail continues to perform better than the high street and shopping centres. Home and Childrenswear remain the high performers for the business, with formal and occasion clothing struggling. Next’s new Beauty and Home stores (three of which opened in October) show Next to be an agile business; in its Watford store, the extensive Home offer is located on the ground floor for customers to readily browse on entry.
“In its central forecast scenario for Q4, Next assumes further local lockdowns; increased consumer reticence as stores get busier in the run-up to Christmas; and rising staff self-isolation as infection levels stay high, causing constraints on capacity. The result of this is an expected 8% decline in full-price sales for the golden quarter, a far cry from Next’s Q4 results last year.”