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Fashion chiefs hail light at the end of the tunnel as shoppers return 

Fashion chiefs hail light at the end of the tunnel as shoppers return sparking a surge in sales

The boss of Next said he was hopeful that life was returning to normal after the reopening of shops sparked a surge in sales.

Raising full-year profit guidance for the second time in two months, Lord Wolfson said: ‘The relief from this lockdown feels more optimistic. It feels like this might genuinely be the end of it.’

Julian Dunkerton, meanwhile, his counterpart at Superdry, hailed ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’.

Superdry boss Julian Dunkerton

Next Boss Lord Wolfson, left, and Superdry founder Julian Dunkerton, right, have both spoken of their relief as the easing of lockdown restrictions  has brought shoppers back in their droves

In the three weeks after stores reopened on April 12, sales at Next were 19 per cent higher than in the same period of 2019, before the pandemic struck. 

Sales in the 13 weeks to May 1 were £75million higher than expected and just 1.5 per cent below the same period of 2019.

The solid figures came despite the closure of all of its 491 stores for ten of the 13 weeks before April 12.

In that time, the company benefited from strong online sales of homeware, childrenswear and third-party fashion brands including Reiss and Levi’s, sold through Next’s Label platform.

Next raised profit guidance to between £680million and £755million. 

But Wolfson, 53, warned that the stellar performance of the past few weeks would fade. ‘What we’re seeing at the moment is pent-up demand that I don’t think is necessarily indicative of what is to come,’ he said.

‘After previous lockdowns we saw an initial surge after stores opened which then eased, and we expect something similar. 

‘I don’t think we should read too much into the past few weeks but I think it does seem to show that many consumers have been saving and are keen to spend.

‘It’s too early to say quite how this will pan out in the long term but it is obviously a promising sign for the recovery.’

Next shares rose 1.8 per cent, or 148p, to 8274p. Superdry shares did even better, jumping 28.1 per cent, or 77.5p, to 353.5p, as it reported a 0.8 per cent increase in revenue to £118.3million in the 13 weeks to April 24.

Dunkerton, 56, the co-founder of Superdry, said: ‘The early signs following the reopening of our UK stores are encouraging, as lockdown restrictions start to lift. We can clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk