Next First-Quarter Sales Beat Estimates Due to Warm End to April

Next Plc (NXT), the U.K.’s second-largest clothing retailer, reported first-quarter sales that beat analysts’ estimates as a warmer end to April prompted shoppers to buy spring fashions after a cold start to the season.

Next brand sales rose 2.2 percent in the 14 weeks ended May 4, the Leicester, England-based retailer said in a statement today. That compares with the 1.1 percent median estimate of 11 analysts compiled by Bloomberg, and growth of 3.9 percent in the prior quarter. Retail sales fell 1.9 percent in the period.

Next, with more than 500 stores across the U.K. and Ireland, said earlier this year that it had a “quiet” start to the fiscal year as the coldest March in 50 years weighed on sales. Pent-up demand lead to a “marked upturn” in sales at the end of the quarter, the retailer said. Next reiterated its target for brand sales to gain 1 percent to 4 percent this fiscal year.

“We anticipate that the continuing decline in real earnings will depress discretionary spending for at least the next 18 months, if not longer,” Next said in the statement.

Next shares fell 0.4 percent to 4,406 pence in London trading yesterday. The stock has climbed 19 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Shannon in London at sshannon4@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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