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.
- 2 Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Mafia's wall of silence broken: Victim of Cosa Nostra's extortion rackets in its Corleone heartland co-operates with authorities for the first time ever
Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Sir David Attenborough interview: The one question about life that still baffles him
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Louise Mensch says 'F**K YOU' in explosive tweets about David Cameron, Saudi Embassy and the Queen over King Abdullah tributes
iJobs Money & Business
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...
Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...
£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...