Leading UK clothing chain Next on Wednesday reported gloomy festive sales but said it expects full-year profits to at least match analysts' forecasts.

Christmas full price sales slipped 0.8 per cent as shoppers kept hold of their cash but ame-store sales for the 23 weeks to January 4 climbed 1.7 per cent and total retail sales were up 12.4 per cent year-on-year.

Mail order sales climbed 22.3 per cent from the year-ago period which meant total sales for the Next brand as a whole rose 14.3 per cent.

Next said it sees a full-year pre-tax profit of £293 million to £303m for the 53 weeks to February 1, compared with analysts' consensus forecast of around £293m.

CEO Simon Wolfson commented: "Our feeling is that the gloom has been a little overdone. Most of the organisations coming up with these forecasts are based in London and may be taking an overly pessimistic view of the national economy."