Next group sales dropped by -0.5% to £4.12bn in the year ending January 2018 while pre-tax profits were down -8.1% to £726.1m in what the business described as “in many ways the most challenging year we have faced for 25 years”.
“A difficult clothing market coincided with self-inflicted product ranging errors and omissions. At the same time, the business has had to manage the costs, systems requirements and opportunities of an accelerating structural shift in spending from retail stores to online. In the end our profits were in line with the forecast we issued in January 2017 and the Company goes into the coming year in good financial health,” Next said in a statement released with its numbers this morning.
To reflect the shift to online the business reported retail sales down 7.9% to £2.12bn while Next online was up +9.2% at £1.89bn, with “other” sales accounting for £107.1m. Retail profits were down 24% to £268.7m while online profits were up 7.4% at £461.m.