NEXT TO SHUT FIVE U.S. STORES
LONDON — Next PLC, one of the U.K.’s largest retailers, said Thursday it was closing its five stores in the U.S. and its single stores in Paris and Brussels.
The stores had operating losses of $5.7 million on sales of $11.2 million for the year ended Jan. 31, Next said.
There also was an exceptional charge of $6 million relating to certain fixtures and fittings in the stores. Dollar figures are translated from the English pound at current exchange rates.
The seven units are the only overseas stores the company owns directly. There are more than 30 franchised Next stores in the Far East and the Middle East. Next had total pretax profits of $307 million on sales of $1.97 billion (1.18 billion pounds) in the year ended Jan. 31.
Business at the seven stores in the current financial year has been similar to last year’s, Next said. It expects losses until the stores’ closing, as well as the costs of the closings, to be less than $5.7 million.
“These stores have not achieved our financial objectives and therefore do not justify further expansion of investment at this time,” Next said, adding the closures do not affect its plans to open more stores in the U.K. and Ireland, or its overseas franchises.