Wedding fever and sunshine boost sales for retailer Next
Warm weather and royal fever helped to boost sales at Next in the first quarter, with the clothing and homeware retailer reporting better than expected results for the period. However, it tempered any optimism by warning yesterday that the 5.2pc rise in sales wouldn't be repeated in the current quarter.
Next said it believed nearly half of the sales rise in the first three months of the year was due to exceptionally warm weather over Easter and spending by consumers in anticipation of the wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton.
"(But) we do not expect the current levels of growth to continue into the second quarter," Next's interim management statement said.
Sales at its retail business rose 0.9pc year-on-year in the first quarter, while its directory business performed strongly, with sales up 14.8pc in the period. Next added that gross margins and costs remained "well controlled".
"Despite the strength in recent sales, we remain cautious for the full year given that there has not been a significant change in the underlying economic environment," it said.
Wider European retail sales fell the most in nearly a year during March as consumers battled with higher oil costs and austerity measures, according to data from Eurostat yesterday.