Online trading saved Christmas for Next, the fashion-to-homewares retailer has revealed.
The company said its sales performance over the festive trading period had been “disappointing”, with sales in its 520 stores between August and Christmas Eve down 2.7% on the same period last year.
However, its online and catalogue business drove sales up by 16.9%, with overall sales for the Next brand showing a 3.1% increase.
“A number of factors have subdued sales in the final quarter,” the company said, “and it is hard to judge to what extent warm winter weather and higher levels of competitor discounting masked the deeper, longer-lasting economic effects.”
It says it remains cautious about the prospects for trade in 2012.