THIS year’s unseasonably cold March cost fashion chain Next up to £12 million a week as customers held back on buying traditional spring ranges. But the group said yesterday that a bounce back in April and strong online sales helped it meet expectations for the 14 weeks to 4 May.
Retail sales for the period were down 1.9 per cent but there was a rise of 8.9 per cent for the group’s Next Directory website. Out of an overall increase of 2.2 per cent, almost three quarters was accounted for by new store space.
The firm said: “It is apparent that the poor March figures were down to an abnormally cold spring, equally the good weeks since mid April have been boosted by pent up demand from the previous month. We believe that neither period is indicative of any significant change in the underlying economy.”
It said it remained on track to hit a profit range of £615m to £665m for the full year, despite the ongoing consumer squeeze.