Position last year: 2
Next has continued to reap the rewards of high street domination under Lord Wolfson’s watch this year and his leadership has been a key driver for the consistently rising sales and profit figures, leaving many rivals in its wake.
The high street giant’s sales increase 6% for the third quarter ending October 24, 1.7% of which was generated by new space. Next benefited from the diversity of the portfolio Lord Wolfson has grown over his time as chairman, as retail sales rose 5.4% and directory sales surged 9.8% during the third quarter, thanks to the timing of its summer Sale. As a result Next is targeting profit-before-tax for the full year of between £810m and £845m.
And Wolfson’s success doesn’t stop there. Next-owned Lipsy saw profits rocket 155% to £4.6m in the year to January 24. Turnover at the young fashion retailer increased 10% to £71.9m thanks to increased sales on both its own website and via the Next Directory.
However, amidst this success, Lord Wolfson sounded a note of caution in September, acknowledging that to offset the £147m cost of increasing wages by 2020, in line with the government’s national living wage policy, Next would have to raise prices by 6%. But he described this as an increase Next customers could manage.