Shares in Next have dropped more than 8% after the retailer warned trading remained "extremely volatile" and forecast a Christmas sales slump.
Full-price sales rose by a lower than expected 1.3% in the 13 weeks to 29th October, although it was an improvement on the second quarter (up 0.7%). "Sales performance has remained extremely volatile and is highly dependent on the seasonality of the weather. In August and September sales were significantly up on last year, as cooler temperatures improved sales of warmer weight stock. The change in sales trend came at precisely the same time UK temperatures became warmer than last year," Next said.
Its stores suffered a 7.7% sales fall, but it was boosted by 13.2% growth for Next Directory, the catalogue and online division. The company is predicting a 0.3% drop in sales for the fourth quarter - covering Christmas - compared with a 0.4% drop during the same period last year.