LONDON, Nov 1 (Reuters) - British clothing retailer Next said trading remained "extremely volatile" as it posted third-quarter sales below some analysts' expectations, hurt by mild weather in October.
Shares in Next had risen by 26 percent in the last three months on hopes the group was starting to turn the corner after a difficult couple of years.
On Wednesday Next said sales in August and September were significantly up on last year as cooler temperatures drove demand for autumn/winter ranges. However, sales dipped in October which was mild.
"(The) sales performance has remained extremely volatile and is highly dependent on the seasonality of the weather," it said.
Next's total full-price sales rose 1.3 percent in the 13 weeks to Oct. 29, its fiscal third quarter, below some analysts' expectations of a rise of up to 4 percent but ahead of the second quarter's 0.7 percent increase.
Britain's most successful clothing retailer this century in terms of profits, Next has faltered over the last two years due to a sector shift in spending away from clothing and into experienced-based areas such as holidays and entertainment that it first identified in 2015.
British retailers are also having to deal with a tough macro backdrop. Consumers are being squeezed by high inflation and muted wage growth and face the prospect of a first rate rise in a decade on Thursday.
Full-price sales in Next's stores were down 7.7 percent, but were up 13.2 percent in its Directory online and home shopping business.
Next maintained its central profit guidance for the full year - a pretax profit of 717 million pounds ($953 million), down from 790.2 million pounds in 2016-17.
It narrowed its guidance for full-year, full-price sales, forecasting they would come in between 1.75 percent down and 1.25 percent higher.
It had forecast a range of down 2.0 percent to up 1.5 percent in September.
Next said comparative sales numbers with last year are much harder in the fourth quarter than they were in the third.
Shares in Next closed Tuesday at 4,921 pence, valuing the business at 7.2 billion pounds. ($1 = 0.7526 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)