Next warns on price hikes, rolls out new logo
On what should have been a day of celebration — another strong set of trading figures for last year and the official launch of a new logo to mark the retailer’s 40th anniversary — Next was also forced to deliver some bad news.
Rising prices are dominating the headlines with Next’s boss Lord Wolfson warning of an income squeeze “worse than aftermath of financial crisis… We’ve never seen anything like this before.”
Next is also predicting it could close more than 140 stores over the next 15 years as it adjusts to changing shopping habits. The retailer currently has 477 stores after closing 14 over the past year and expects to close 15 in the year ahead.
The warnings came as the retailer prepares to raise prices by 8% this autumn, mainly citing the war in Ukraine for the bulk of the rise. That’s significantly up on the overall 3.7% increase in prices Next saw in the first part of the year.
The retailer also said prices for homewares will jump by 13% and clothes prices will rise by 6.5% in the second half of the year.
“What we’re seeing now is very different [to the financial crisis a decade ago] because the rises are much sharper and also what we’re seeing that we didn’t see in 2011 is a sharp rise in wages as well. And that is the hardest thing.
He also noted chronic staff shortages and high shipping costs were among the biggest concerns with the pro-Brexit CEO saying the UK should now “reverse barriers” for overseas workers.
“Actually, we have some insight from our history and 2011, but we’ve never seen anything like this before, we don’t quite know how it’s going to pan out.”
Although Next still sees sales growing this year, they won’t rise by as much as expected, as consumer confidence will be more subdued. Lord Wolfson added: “Best case scenario is that we’re looking at an easing of pressure in nine to 12 months’ time.”
Meanwhile, Next also begins the rollout of new logo as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations. Gone is its lowercase lettering that has been seen since 2007 in favour of a new bold capitalised font. The new logo is already being used across corporate material and new store fronts.
The logo can now be seen in the flagship store on Oxford Street and it's slowly being rolled out across all 500 Next stores before the end of the year. Price labels, garment tags and carrier bags will also be rebranded once old stock has been used up.
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