Lord Wolfson, the chief executive of Next, struck a cautious note on consumer spending ahead of the crucial festive-trading period yesterday, despite the fashion retailer's robust, third-quarter trading.
He said: "We don't think consumer sentiment will change in the run up to Christmas. We are seeing significant volatility on a week-by-week basis."
The chain said the recent cold snap had helped to deliver "stronger sales" in late September and early October as consumers returned to the high street to buy winter clothes.
This made up for "disappointing" trading in August, when customer footfall was hit by the Olympics and prolonged sunshine.
Next, which has 540 UK stores, narrowed its full-year profit expectations to between £590m and £620m, a £15m increase at the bottom end of the range, after a trading improvement and "greater certainty".