Investment: Next suffers among the fashion victims
Friday 18 September 1998
Only weeks later the group issued a dire profits warning caused by buying too much high-fashion stock in women's clothing and not enough of the classics.
If Mrs Jones is the bellwether of Next's fortunes, things could be looking up. She is again finding garments she likes again in Next outlets, and the sales figures are on an improving trend.
Like-for-like sales that were 9 per cent down at the half year have turned into a 1.5 per cent rise. Analysts say the balance of the stores' product ranges is looking better.
Why, then, did Next shares fall 37.5p yesterday to a near three-year low of 407p? True, the market was down overall. But Next is also a company which has issued a profits warning and is in a sector which nobody loves.
So it may take another set of trading figures before the market really starts to believe that Next has put its mistakes behind it, even though the management seems to be doing all the right things.
The company has appointed a new womenswear director whose new ranges should start coming through from next month. New ordering and checking procedures have been introduced and improved warehousing is coming on stream.
Mr Jones is cautious on like-for-like sales in such a low-inflation environment. Profit growth will come instead from new space (80,000 square feet in the second half of the year) and higher sales per square foot.
On full-year forecasts the shares trade on a forward rating of 13. That is cheap for Next. But, given that the horror of the profits warning will take a while yet to fade away, there is no rush to buy.
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...
£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...