By Jonathan Davies

Next enjoyed a strong first three months of the year with sales beating expectations after warm weather coincided with the early launch of its summer catalogue.

The fashion retailer said sales were up 3.2% during the first quarter, compared with forecasts of 0-3% growth.

“Sales in the first quarter were flattered by the earlier launch of our summer ‘New-In’ brochure, which helpfully coincided with much warmer weather,” Next said in a statement.

Fashion retailers are often dependent on weather as shoppers decide to change their wardrobe for the new season. Next launched its summer catalogue earlier this month and temperatures reached 25C in Kent, a four-year high for April.

Next is a prime example, prior to these weather-boosted results, the retailer said an unusually warm autumn restricted sales growth as shoppers didn't feel the need to buy winter clothing.

Next shares rose 2.8% to £73.65 in early trading.