Fashion retailer Next posted total sales up 3.9% in the Christmas trading period, as it narrowed its profit guidance.

From November 1 to December 24 Next stores generated a 0.8% boost in sales, while its online and catalogue directory business delivered an 11.2% surge.

The retailer said the sales were in line with expectations.

Next revealed it will narrow its profit before tax guidance to the top of its previous range, which was £590m to £620m, to deliver profit £7m either side of £618m as cost control measures, markdowns and gross margins were “slightly better” than expected.

If Next were to generate profit of £620m it would be a 9.6% surge in profit before tax on last year.

In a statement to the City, Next said: “We think it is unlikely there will be any dramatic change in the consumer environment in the year ahead.

“Healthy employment numbers mean that there is little risk of a significant downturn. However, the continued growth in price inflation ahead of wage inflation means that real wages will continue to fall, albeit at a slower rate than last year. On balance, we expect the consumer environment to remain subdued but steady.”