Next “cautious” about second half of 2008

Next has warned of a “cautious” outlook for the second half of the year, after a fall in first half revenue. The retailer reported its results for the first half ended July 26 today (July 30).

The retailer says it expects a similar figure for the second half of the year. It is renovating stores and adding new clothes ranges to attract customers, as higher household bills sap disposable incomes

It says: “We remain very cautious about the outlook for the second half and can see no reason for any improvement in consumer spending. Indeed, the economic risks appear to us to be on the downside.”

Like-for like sales in its 353 stores, not including new openings, were down by 2.4% in the second quarter. Next says the improvement on the first quarter drop of 9.4% was due to unusual weather patterns.

Next has set aside £122m to spend on its stores in 2007 and will renovate, refit or redecorate almost three-quarters of its 502 outlets by the end of this year.

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