May 1, 2019 / 6:28 AM / 2 months ago

Next benefits from warm Easter with 4.5 percent first-quarter sales rise

FILE PHOTO: Mannequins are pictured in the window of a Next clothing store in London March 26, 2009.REUTERS/Luke MacGregor/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - British clothing chain Next on Wednesday said warm weather over the Easter holiday drove a 4.5 percent rise in full-price first-quarter sales, beating its own forecasts of a 3.2 percent rise.

Next, which trades from more than 500 stores in Britainand Ireland, about 200 stores in 40 other countries and itsDirectory online business, said full-price sales at stores fell 3.6 percent in the 13 weeks to April 27, while online sales rose 11.8 percent.

The company said the first-quarter outperformance, which amounted to about 10 million pounds of sales, was a relatively small number in the context of annual sales and it was not sufficient to change its view of the full year.

The group maintained the sales and profit guidance for the full 2019-20 year, with full-price sales growth seen up 1.7 percent and a 1.1 percent fall in pretax profit to 715 million pounds ($932.4 million).

Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Kate Holton

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