Next, the UK retail chain, expects trading to remain “extremely volatile” as directory sales continue to offset difficult conditions on the high street.
The group posted its second quarter in a row of rising total full-price sales – up 1.3% in its third quarter to October 29. A 13.2% jump in sales across its Directory arm helped push overall sales higher.
However, on the high street the picture was different with a 7.7% drop in sales. The company said high street business was “highly dependent” on the weather.
While cooler temperatures in August and September helped overall sales rise at the start of the third quarter, recent warmer autumn weather saw trading come under pressure once more.
A 0.3% fall in sales for the year so far is a more “reliable guide” to the underlying trend for the year, according to the group.
Weather impacts on sales
The company commented: “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 kept its central profit outlook for the year, but narrowed the range to between £692m and £742m, from its previous guidance range of between £687m and £747m.
Next's shares fell by more than 7% in early trading following the announcement.