Leading fashion retail group Next Plc on Thursday posted a modest rise in first half pre-tax profit but said recent hot weather had hurt current sales of its autumn and winter collections.

The company reported a pre-tax profit for the six months to the end of July of £123.2 million versus £115.8m last year with sales reaching £1.12 billion versus £944.8m last year.

Next said it was pleased with its half-year performance but added same-store sales in the first six weeks of the second half are just 0.8 per cent higher, compared with 1.8 per cent for the first half.

Chief executive Simon Wolfson said his firm had made significant improvements to ranges after last year's disappointing autumn performance and sorted out problems with the fit of some of its womenswear ranges.

He added: "Whilst there will always be minor adjustments, we are confident that our strategy of improving the product, expanding selling space in Next Retail and increasing the customer base of Next Directory will continue to deliver healthy growth."