Next has generated lower-than-expected returns from its high-profile summer Sale, according to industry sources.
Meanwhile, other fashion retailers held back their Sales following encouraging full-price trading.
Demand for Next fashions was high as queues snaked down high streets from 5am on Saturday, but sales are said to have been disappointing.
One source claimed like-for-likes on Saturday, which accounts for half the Sale week turnover, were only marginally up, while another said they had they had been negative. Next traditionally sets a 5 per cent like-for-like target.
Reasons for the shortfall were said to have been lack of Sale stock and distribution complications.
A Next spokesman declined to comment.
Sports group John David was one retailer that delayed Sales. JD chief executive Barry Bown said the retailer, which went on Sale earlier this week, had delayed the event by a week. He said improved efficiency and strong product had enabled the decision.
Monsoon, which managed a 9 per cent surge in total sales in the seven weeks to July 17, also delayed its Sale by a week.
Hobbs put back its Sale by six days, because of strong trading.
Hobbs chief executive Nick Samuel said improved product and merchandising had enabled the retailer to hold out. 'We had such a strong start to the season that we were absolutely fine,' he said.