Fashion chain Next has raised its full-year profit guidance for the fourth time this year as the onset cooler weather boosted sales in the second half of October.

In a trading update issued yesterday, the group added £10 million to its profit forecast which now stands at £885m for the full year. This followed a 4% increase in sales during the three months to October 28, doubled the pace of growth previously anticipated.

Sales were down year-on-year in September as warm weather put shoppers off from buying coats and knitwear, but cooler temperatures in the second half of October led to a boost of more than 11%.

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Next blamed this volatility on variable weather conditions rather than any fundamental shift in consumer sentiment.

“Sales growth has been variable,” the company said.

“We believe the volatility in sales performance is a result of changing weather conditions rather than any underlying changes in the consumer economy. In an autumn season, cooler weather is good for sales, warmer than average weather depresses sales.”

In-store sales were 0.6% lower for the whole of the third quarter, but the online business was up by 6.5% for the period. Its online growth has been aided by customers' ability to pick up and drop off items for free at Next's physical stores, unlike digital-only rivals such as Asos and Boohoo.

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Assuming that full-price sales for the rest of the year are up by 2%, Next expects to hit full-year revenues of £4.47bn. Analysts Eleonora Dani and Clive Black of Shore Capital said the trading update was "quite encouraging" and potentially offered some insights into the wider UK retail sector.

"Online sales remain a strong growth driver, while the physical channel shows some softness against normalised comps," they said in a note to investors. "The focus on full price sales, as opposed to sales during clearance events, suggests a potential shift in consumer spending habits towards quality over quantity."

It was a completely different story at online-only retailer Asos, which warned yesterday that its sales will continue to fall after delayed results revealed that it slumped to a loss of nearly £300m for the year to September 3.

Revenues dropped to £3.5bn from £3.9bn as Asos has faced heavy competition from companies such as fast fashion specialist Shein and rivals such as Next who have a combination of stores and online retail.

Pre-tax losses at Asos ballooned to £296.7m, up from £32m the previous year, as sales fell by 10% to £3.5bn. Asos added that it expects sales to fall by anywhere between 5% and 15% in the coming 12 months as it works its way through a revival plan for the business.

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Asos chief executive José Antonio Ramos Calamonte said it has made “good progress” in “a very challenging environment” and would continue to bring in new more fashionable stock and invest in its brand.

He added that Asos has “significantly improved the core profitability of the business” and is now taking "decisive action" to clear stock brought in under the old business model. 

"Encouragingly, stock that was brought in under our new commercial model over the summer months has performed strongly and this gives us the confidence to accelerate the rollout of our new processes," he added.

As part of efforts to stem its losses and improve its speed to market, Asos said it will mothball its warehouse in Lichfield, Staffordshire, in a move that could cost "several hundred jobs".

Opened just two years ago, the warehouse was initially expected to create 2,000 new jobs. Asos said shutting the operation down will result in annual cost saving of £20m and give the brand "flexibility" to either sell the facility or re-open it, depending on whether it needs the space in the future.

Shares in Asos closed yesterday's trading down 30.4p at 365p, a decline of 7.7%. Next stock was 3.6% higher at 7,132p by the close of trade.