FASHION retailer Next has warned that it will have to lower its profits guidance for this year if the Indian summer continues throughout October.

September is an important month for the industry but, with slower demand for jumpers and coats, Next's sales are currently up six per cent in the quarter to the end of October, rather than the 10 per cent previously forecast for the period.

It hopes that it will recover some of the lost sales when the weather turns but if the unusually warm conditions continue for the full duration of October it is likely to lower its full-year profit guidance of £775 million to £815m.

The group, which overtook Marks & Spencer with a £695m annual profits haul earlier this year, had been experiencing its strongest sales growth for many years prior to the slower performance seen in September.

It said; "Cooler weather in August resulted in several very strong weeks. However, warmer weather in the more important month of September had the reverse effect."

Next said it was hopeful it would benefit when colder weather does - inevitably -descend on the UK.

It added: "Our experience suggests that some lost sales are regained when the weather turns.

"However, if this unusually warm weather continues for the full duration of October then we are likely to lower our full year profit guidance range."

The group trades from over 500 stores in Britain and Ireland, about 200 stores overseas and through its Directory internet and catalogue business.

John Lewis was the first major UK retailer to say shoppers were delaying purchases of winter clothing when it reported a weekly sales dip on September 19.