Excessive avenue trend chain Subsequent has revealed that earnings for the final yr had been slashed by greater than half after its shops had been shut for big durations.
The Leicester-based firm informed the inventory alternate at the moment that pre-tax earnings slid from £728 million to £342 million for the yr ending in January 2021.
It stated this hunch was pushed by covid-19 prices and decrease gross sales attributable to lockdown restrictions, with group gross sales dropping from £4.36 billion to £3.62 billion for the yr.
Web debt has diminished to £610 million, down from £1.1 billion the earlier yr.
The corporate additionally stated it had “accelerated” capital expenditure into its on-line operations by spending £121 million on warehousing and programs.
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In an announcement, Subsequent chairman Michael Roney stated: “I imagine that in tough instances there’s a clearer separation between the stronger company performers and the weaker ones.
“This result’s because of the formation of a great administration crew and the institution of sturdy processes throughout much less risky durations.
“Our continued funding over a few years in our folks and our programs has proven resilient outcomes up to now yr. In April 2020, we acknowledged our intention to droop all capital returns to shareholders at some point of the monetary yr and till the scenario stabilises.
“Given the persevering with uncertainty round when our shops will reopen, no closing dividend is proposed for 2020/21 and our share buyback programme stays suspended.
“We stay dedicated to returning capital to shareholders in the long run and can assessment our place later within the yr when we’ve got higher visibility of our commerce as soon as our shops reopen.
“We count on the shift in shopper behaviour in the direction of on-line gross sales to proceed for a while and one in every of our priorities through the yr has been to proceed the event of our on-line platform.”