Next sees profits fall by 13.9% despite online growth

Next, the high street fashion retailer, saw profits fall by 13.9% for the year to January 2009 due to the adverse economic climate, despite strong growth by its online arm.

Profits were down from £498.1m to £428.8m year-on-year, with revenues falling by 1.7% from £3.33bn to £3.27bn.

However, Next Directory, its catalogue and internet business, saw revenues increase by 2.1% with the company saying that online now accounts for 60% of all Directory sales.

The company also revealed it’s to overhaul its website in the next few months.

A statement read, “We will continue to enhance our internet functionality in the coming season and we will re-launch the site in a wider format with improved search and display of products.”

Next overhauled its marketing strategy at the end of last year, deciding against a Christmas television campaign in favour of press and online activity in an attempt to boost flagging sales.

CEO Simon Wolfson remained optimistic for the coming year, saying the company would not compromise on price and that economic conditions will improve.

“While we remain cautious in our outlook for the year ahead, we believe that perhaps the economic gloom has been overdone,” he said. “At some point, the economy will begin to recover and we must focus on ensuring Next’s stores, personnel and brand emerge in good shape.”

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