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Online Sales Growth Offsets Next’s High Street Struggles

26 March 2019 - 09:12 by Graham Miller

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Next is one of the many UK retailers that is managing to maintain momentum thanks to safe shopping online at a time when it is finding it difficult to improve sales at its bricks-and-mortar outlets.

In 2018 there was an eight per cent dip in sales recorded at its high street locations, which is in stark contrast to the 14.7 per cent increase in e-commerce purchases carried out by its customers.

The upshot of this is that for the first time ever Next sold more items online than it did in real-world stores.

In total, 53 per cent of products purchased from Next came from its website and app last year, which in turn led to a healthy boost to e-commerce profits for the retailer.

On the high street, profits fell by a fifth and there are no signs of a turnaround for this state of affairs, with political turmoil and the threat of a recession making consumers much less likely to part with their cash on unnecessary purchases at the moment.

The positive aspect of Next’s success online is that the majority of customers who order from its site choose to collect their orders at their nearest store rather than opting for home delivery. This helps physical locations to remain relevant and also means that four out of five people who return unwanted items also head to the high street to do so, which reduces the costs incurred by the retailer.

Ongoing uncertainty about the UK’s future will affect most retailers for the foreseeable future, and even without the spectre of Brexit looming large, the bricks-and-mortar market was finding it tough to stay afloat as a result of online shopping being cheaper and more convenient in most cases for many consumers.