Next has said it will invest £10m in digital marketing as well as improving its online systems as it maps out a recovery plan following a poor festive trading season.
Sales fell 0.4% in the fourth quarter to 24 December, a disappointment for the retailer which had hoped to see sales growth following a similarly poor performance last Christmas (see below for a graph of its full year sales).
With Brexit on the horizon, the falling pound and inflation squeezing its earnings, bosses anticipate yet more turbulence in the coming year.
“We expect that this will depress sales revenue by around 0.5%,” the clothing retail brand said today (4 January).
It is now predicting sales in the year to January 2018 will range from a fall of 4.5% to a rise of 1.5% (the midpoint is a decline of 1.5% “which is marginally worse than the current year’s performance,” it said).
But, for all the gloomy talk it has planned to up investment into the areas which will get it on the radar of customers.
Historically not a prolific above-the-line advertisers, Next will continue to favour digital marketing in the coming year. It has earmarked a portion of a £10m digital fund to hone its efforts while the remainder will go on improving the website to keep customers shopping once they get them to the site.
Pressure then, will be on Jane Shields who has the joint role of group sales and marketing director.