Next said the recent warm weather had resulted in “disappointing” sales of its new autumn clothing ranges as the latest official data showed falling high street sales.
The retailer was the biggest faller on the FTSE 100 on Thursday after its chief executive, Simon Wolfson, painted a downbeat picture of current trading. The Conservative peer said that the malaise was down to the weather rather than Brexit woes as demand had been much stronger in parts of the country, such as Scotland, where it had been cooler.
“We believe that the warm start to September has done much more to hinder sales than the political temperature,” said Wolfson, a prominent leave supporter. “On a week when it is 24 or 25 degrees you are not going to sell a lot of knitwear.”
Next said there was no evidence that the economic uncertainty created by Brexit – which has hit sales of furniture and electrical goods – was affecting demand for its clothing, which was driven by need. “What affects the consumer is the day-to-day reality,”…