Two of the biggest names in fashion had massively different fortunes as they rode out the storm on the High Street.
Next shares soared 6.1 per cent as it reported a huge rise in online sales that offset a decline from shoppers going into stores.
But Superdry, famous for hoodies and T-shirts featuring Japanese writing, saw £256million wiped off its value after sales fell by 6 per cent to £86million during the 16 weeks to January 7. Its shares had slumped 19.4 per cent by the close.
The contrast was most marked by the way in which Next has embraced its online business, and urged shoppers to pick up website orders from stores – keeping footfall up.
Online revival: Next shares soared 6.1 per cent as it reported a huge rise in online sales that offset a decline from shoppers going into stores
Although purchases in Next stores declined 4.8 per cent, its online business grew 18 per cent, meaning it came in £40million above expectations.
Two heatwaves in the 14 weeks to May 7 also offset a decline in sales during a week of heavy snow across the UK.
Next, considered a High Street bellwether, left investors reeling earlier this year after it posted its second consecutive yearly decline in profits to £726million.
But the chain, headed by Lord Wolfson, 50, has now upgraded its full-year forecasts, with profits expected to shrink by 1.3 per cent rather than 2.9 per cent.
Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said Next was an ‘exceptionally well-run business that communicates well with its shareholders’. He added: ‘Time and again Simon Wolfson and team have said the unpopular thing and been right, so while these numbers are far better than anticipated, investors should probably keep expectations in check.’
In a trading statement ahead of its full-year results, Superdry reported a 12.4 per cent rise in group revenue to £254million, boosted by a strong performance in its wholesale and online divisions.
Wholesale surged by 27 per cent to £128.6million while online grew 18.2 per cent to £38.7million.
But the 6 per cent fall in shop sales took the shine off, forcing Superdry to slash its profits forecast for the year.
These are now expected to be in the range of £96.5million to £97.5million compared to £98.5million. It also took a £7.2million hit for a writedown on its flagship shop in Berlin.
But it continued to open stores and added shopfloor space.
It comes after Superdry’s co-founder Julian Dunkerton, 53, stepped down as a director to devote his time to charity and a cider-making and hotels business.
Dunkerton founded Superdry in 1985 from a market stall in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, and listed it on the London Stock Exchange in 2010.
Euan Sutherland, the chief executive of Superdry, said: ‘While the consumer environment remains challenging, we are confident that Superdry’s reputation for quality, design detail and strong value for money, underpinned by our continued investment in the business, leaves us well placed.’