Next blames online competition for disappointing Directory sales

Reporting on its Christmas trading figures, Next unveiled a disappointing performance across its brand, with a mere 0.4% increase in total sales.

For the 60 days to 24 December 2015, the retailer reported a drop in retail sales by 0.5%, while its online and catalogue Directory sales only increased by 2%.

Notably, unlike other fashion retailers, Next did not offer discounted products in the run up to Christmas and before its famous end of season sale.

The retailer suggested the unseasonably warm weather in November and December was the main reason for the difficult fourth quarter, but Next also cited poor stock availability and increased online competition for its poor Directory performance.

It said: "The online competitive environment is getting tougher as industry-wide service propositions catch up with the Next Directory."

But Next said good control of margins, costs and stock, as well as healthy clearance rates will lead to full-year profits to remain within the guidance of £810 million to £845 million, which was issued in October. 

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