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Fashion Group Next H1 sales up 2.3%
31
Jul '13
Total Next Brand sales in the first half were up 2.3%, around the mid point of the +1% to +4% guidance range we issued in March.  Full price sales were somewhat better than the headline figure as a result of a much smaller End of Season Sale.  Prior to the start of our Sale on 13th July, sales were 3.7% ahead of last year.  We went into Sale with 20% less stock than last year, clearance rates improved and markdown sales were down only 13%. 

Continued Sales Volatility

We continued to experience the weekly sales volatility which we saw in the first quarter.  It would appear that consumers are becoming more spontaneous in their purchasing habits.  As a result, weekly sales are more affected by short term events such as a change in the weather, the timing of Bank Holidays, school holidays, etc. 

Sales Guidance for the Full year 

We expect little change to the consumer environment and so we are issuing the same sales guidance for the second half as we did for the first; that is +1% to +4%.  If we are within this range, then sales for the full year would be in the range of +1.5% to +3.5%.

PROFIT GUIDANCE FOR THE FULL YEAR

Full price sales for the first 26 weeks were in the top half of our full year forecast.  More importantly, the reduction in residual stock resulted in much lower markdown costs.  The combined effect of higher full price sales and lower markdown has added £10m to our first half profits and accordingly we are raising and narrowing our guidance for the full year, as set out below.

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