Next warns two-week circuit-breaker would cost it £57m in sales

Next has warned it will lose £57 million in sales if the UK is pushed into a two-week circuit-breaker lockdown

Next has warned it will lose £57 million in sales if the UK is pushed into a two-week circuit-breaker lockdown.

Britain’s biggest fashion retailer said the ‘significant reduction’ in the number of people heading to the High Street during the vital Christmas period would hit shop revenues by up to a fifth.

Sales at the company, part of the FTSE100, rose 2.8 per cent in the three months to October 24, compared to the same period last year. Web sales jumped 23.1 per cent, more than outweighing a 17.9 per cent drop in store sales.

The firm expects to make £365 million profit in the year to the end of January 2021, up from the £300 million it had been targeting. But that is still well down on the £728.5 million profit it made last year.

It expects revenues to fall 17 per cent to £3.6 billion this financial year.

Retail has rebounded after lockdown, with data showing sales were higher in September than in February, before the virus struck. But the banning of household mixing and closure of some hospitality venues has already hit footfall in towns and cities, and there are fears the nascent recovery will be snuffed out.

Next estimated that in-store sales would drop £57 million if England followed Wales into a two-week ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown, dragging year-end profits back to £290m. Chief executive Lord Wolfson said: ‘We can find no evidence of the virus being transmitted in our stores.’