Next

Next (LON:NXT) shares fell on Wednesday morning after the company reported a slowdown in sales growth for the quarter.

Sales for the third quarter were down 8% year on year, and 6.3% compared with the previous year.

However, online sales lifted profits, up 12.7% in the three months to October end.

Despite the somewhat disappointing results, the high-street retailer maintained its full-year guidance.

Back in September, Next reported a rise in sales after a better-than-expected summer trading period.

However, the latest figures suggest the business is still grappling to cope with the shift from in-store to online shopping, with many consumers taking to the ease of the Internet to buy their clothing.

Indeed, Next is one of many retailers that have been struggling as of late.

At the beginning of the year, both Maplins and Toys R Us fell into administration after racking up substantial debts.

Over the course of the year, various other brands have announced store closures as they look to adapt to increasingly tough trading conditions.

Store chains such as Marks and Spencers (LON:MKS), New Look and Waitrose all announced closures in a bid to streamline costs.

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, commented on the latest figures: “‘Another trading statement from a high street retailer, another clear example of clicks hammering bricks. Like much of the sector, Next is doing the splits as digital and physical sales head in opposite directions.

“As Next rightly points out, clicks and bricks can be complementary, as physical outlets give customers a convenient place to collect and return items. The scale of Next’s finance division business is significant, with £1.1bn of outstanding consumer debt, which is expected to contribute 17 per cent of Next’s profits this year.”

Retailers may be in for some relief in the upcoming months however, after the government announced a £1.5 billion high-street regeneration plan on Monday.

During his highly anticipated budget speech, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the initiative, which will fund the creation of board of experts to help local officials develop “innovative strategies to help high streets evolve”.

Shares in Next are currently down -3.24% as of 10.42AM (GMT).