The drop in sales was attributed to the group’s September trading, which was “adversely” affected by unusually warm weather. Additionally, it said “strong” sales in July pulled forward sales from August.
Despite this, the retailer saw a “significant improvement” in October when temperatures fell, and experienced a 9.7% increase in online sales during the period.
Next said: “We believe the improved sales growth in October recouped some of the lost sales in September and we do not expect sales growth for the rest of the year to be as strong as October.”
The decline in sales comes after the group reported a 2.7% rise in profits for the 26 weeks to July 2019, aided by a 12.6% increase in online sales.
Pre-tax profits for the first half of the year were £319.6m compared with £311.1m for the same period last year. Total brand sales also increased by 3.8% to £2.05bn, earnings per share (EPS) were up by 7.5% on last year to 199.5p.
At the time, Next warned that autumn trading so far had been “disappointing”, and anticipated a “weaker” third quarter – attributed to warm weather rather than uncertainty over Brexit.