Fashion retailer Next Plc has raised its full-year guidance to the upper end of earlier forecasts after sales picked up in late September and early October.

Last month the retailer warned sales in August and early September were "unusually quiet" and "disappointing".

But today (31 October) it said sales rose 2.7% in its third quarter, which covers the three months to 27 October.

Next, which sells fashion and homewares from more than 500 stores in the UK and trades from nearly 200 stores operated by franchise partners overseas, said retail sales rose 1.1% in the quarter. Its Directory catalogue and online arm saw gains of 5.6%.

But the company said overall sales performance "remains volatile," making it hard to draw conclusions from any one short period of time. 

"We expect total sales in the final quarter to increase broadly in line with sales for the year-to-date," a statement said. "Accordingly we are narrowing our full year sales guidance to a range of +3.0% to +4.5%."

It also said full-year pretax profit is seen rising by between 3.5% and 8.7% to a range of GBP590-620m.

Joseph Robinson, senior consultant at Conlumino, described Next's results as "solid" in a clothing and footwear market that remains challenging and uncertain.

He added: "Next is strongly positioned and we anticipate continued resilience in its performance. Moreover, investment in bolstering its multichannel offer, through more flexible fulfillment options such as next day delivery, and positive moves to improve the viability and profitability of its store portfolio, leave it in good stead longer term.