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Next clings on to growth thanks to online sales

02 November 2018 - 12:02 by Simon Crisp

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In the past quarter high street clothing mainstay Next was hit with an eight per cent drop in the number of sales made from its bricks and mortar outlets. The fact that it saw an overall increase in sales of 1.3 per cent was only achievable thanks to the power of its e-commerce efforts.

Over the same period a strong 12.7 per cent increase in the number of customers buying products via safe shopping online helped Next to avert disaster and will ultimately see the retailer pull in more profit this year, according to This Is Money.

Even with the good news about online success, Next still suffered a slight slip in its share values after it announced its quarterly performance figures, with investors worried about the long term sales trajectory for this retailer in particular as well as the UK market as a whole.

There are 500 Next stores operating across the country, but if sales continue to fall so steeply in this area then the retailer may have to give into pressure and start closing certain outlets.

Analysts are paying close attention to how Next fares over the coming months, as the run up to Christmas is traditionally the busiest time of the year for most retailers and if there is still a downturn in store sales during the festive season then deeper problems may exist.

The entire bricks and mortar retail market has been struggling against the odds in recent years, with specialists concerned about the extent to which sales will be impacted by outside factors, including Brexit.

The idea that online shopping is the sole cause of the high street’s woes has largely been dispelled. In fact this news shows that for many retailers it is a lifeline, not a death sentence.