The recent pain in the retail sector spread to the fashion chains today as Next warned that the absence of any cold weather was hitting sales of its latest ranges.
Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct, said: “Warm weather continues to swathe the UK and this is seeing consumers holding back from buying winter clothes, something that served to knock Marks & Spencer, too.”
Shares in Next dropped almost 4 per cent, down 260p to 6,605p, while M&S was 10.8p lower at 404.6p
However, Primark-owner Associated British Foods appeared unaffected by the lack-of-winter blues. It was the biggest blue chip riser, up 4.5 per cent at 2,679p after broker Credit Suisse upgraded it to “outperform” with a target price of 3,000p.
The FTSE-100 index at the close was down 23.88 at 6622.7 but elsewhere in Europe, markets were higher as a slump in eurozone inflation to 0.3 per cent boosted expectations of further stimulus measures from the European Central Bank.
On currency markets, the pound was stronger against a weakening euro, at 1.28 euros, after figures showed the UK economy grew by more than originally thought in the second quarter.
A broker update from Canaccord Genuity saw shares in Glasgow-based Weir Group fall back 39p 2,502p after it lowered its rating to ‘hold’ from ‘buy’ and reduced its target price from 3,000p to 2,775p.
The biggest risers in the top flight included easyJet up 42p at 1423p and Intertek Group up 54p at 2,612p.
The biggest fallers in the FTSE 100 index included Prudential down 38.5p at 1376p and Sports Direct International down 15.5p at 618.5p.