Next’s full price sales came in 4.7% stronger than expected in its second quarter as more people returned to buying formalwear for summer events.

The fashion and homeware retailer’s total full price sales increased by 5% in the three months to 30 July.

Next said the performance was due in part to unusually warm and dry weather and a marked return to formal dressing driven by pent up demand for social events.

It also revealed that many product trends returned to pre-pandemic norms and that online returns rates and surplus stock reverted to pre-lockdown levels.

Meanwhile sales at Next’s retail stores rose by 12% in the period, although growth online was only 0.2%.