Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Next Sees More Gloom as Sales Slump Again; Tough: The Group, Led by Simon Wolfson, Expects Sales to Fall 6% in the Second Half Too

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Next Sees More Gloom as Sales Slump Again; Tough: The Group, Led by Simon Wolfson, Expects Sales to Fall 6% in the Second Half Too

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT LEA

NEXT failed to lift the despondency on the High Street today, announcing just ahead of the launch of its autumn ranges that it believes the second half of the year is going to be every bit as tough as the first.

The fashion group reported a 6% slump in like-for-like sales in the 26 weeks to 26 July. And despite hopes from the City of a brighter outlook, the group, led by chief executive Simon Wolfson, said it expects sales to fall by a further 6% through to the New Year.

"We anticipated a tough season and managed stock accordingly," the company said. "We remain very cautious about the outlook for the second half and can see no reason for any improvement in consumer spending, indeed, the economic risks appear to us to be on the downside.

"We believe that continued year on year increase in food, fuel and mortgage costs will weigh heavily on our customers.

We are therefore currently planning for retail full price like for sales in the second half to be down by a similar amount to that of the first half. …

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