Next cautions warm weather may hit profits

Warning issued as shoppers not buying winter clothing which is affecting sector

British retailer Next warned yesterday it will have to lower profit forecasts if unusually warm autumn weather continues and shoppers don't buy winter clothing, denting shares across the sector.

Shares in Next, Britain's second biggest clothing retailer by sales, fell as much as 5.6 per cent. Shares in Marks & Spencer , the country's largest clothing retailer, declined by up to 4.4 per cent, while department store Debenhams were down by up to 4.7 per cent.

In July Next raised guidance for sales and profit for the second time in three months.

“Next don’t often lower guidance, so the fact that they have said they may do so due to the warmer weather is hitting the shares . . . and will also hit the sector if the weather remains unseasonal,” said Securequity sales trader Jawaid Afsar. – (Reuters)