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Next warns retail market still ‘challenging’

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High Street fashion chain Next has warned the market “remains challenging” as it reported a 2.5% drop in total sales for the past three months.

The retailer also cut the top end of its profit forecast, and now expects full-year profits of between £680m and £740m compared with an earlier forecast of £680m to £780m.

The weak performance was expected after the retailer had warned in March of “another tough year ahead”.

Store sales fell by just over 8%.

However, its overall performance was buoyed by online sales, which rose 3.3% for the 13 weeks to 29 April.

In March, the retailer reported its first drop in annual profit for eight years and said it remained “extremely cautious” about trading.

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