Next and HMV sales hit by heavy snowfall

| January 5, 2011 | 0 Comments

The heavy snowfall which gripped most of the country last month resulted in a fall in sales at Next - Britain’s second largest fashion retailer.

The company today announced sales for the five months to Christmas Eve - at shops open at least a year - were down 6.1%.

However, online sales were up 8.7% as shoppers opted to stay at home.

The clothes retailer estimates it lost £22 million in Christmas sales, however, it highlighted that profits remain on track.

The company, which runs more than 500 stores in Britain and Ireland, said the outlook for the year remains uncertain, due to the Government’s spending cuts which will undoubtedly hamper spending.

Meanwhile, the figures come on the same day that music, books, DVDs and games retailer, HMV, said full-year profit come in at the lower end of forecasts.

The retailer has been struggling for some time now with competition from supermarkets and the internet.

Today’s figures will add to concerns that the big freeze has had a negative impact on retailers during the crucial Christmas period.

There are also further fears for retailers due to the recent VAT hike. The rise in the sales tax from 17.5% to 20% is expected to see consumers cut back on their spending over the coming months.

According to a report by the Centre for Retail Research and Kelkoo, the online shopping group, retail sales will slump by more than £2 billion in the first quarter of 2011 because of the VAT hike.

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