At a glance

Business overview

The NEXT retail chain was launched in February 1982 and the first store opened with an exclusive coordinated collection of stylish clothes, shoes and accessories for women. Collections for men, children and the home quickly followed. NEXT clothes are styled by its in-house design team to offer great style, quality and value for money with a contemporary fashion edge.

Today NEXT trades from more than 500 stores in the UK and Eire and around 200 stores in more than 40 countries overseas. Over the last few years several larger format fashion and home stores have opened across the UK. In August 2011, NEXT opened its first combined fashion, home and garden store at Shoreham-by-Sea. 2014 saw the opening of 2 further large home and fashion stores which were built from the ground up. These home and fashion stores, in Hedgend and Maidstone, boast aspirational out of town architecture and were followed by the opening of the High Wycombe super store in 2015.

The groundbreaking mail order operation NEXT Directory launched in 1988 with a hardback book containing 350 pages, creating the blueprint for catalogue retailing. There are over 770 pages in the Winter 2015 book alone offering extensive collections for men, women, children and everything for the well dressed home.

Online shopping was introduced in 1999 and the entire book became available to shop from on the internet, page by page – another first in home shopping in the UK. NEXT Directory now also serves customers in around 70 countries outside the UK.

NEXT continues to improve customer service, introducing new initiatives such as next day delivery to home as standard for NEXT Directory orders placed before midnight for free next day delivery to home or store.

Customers may collect or return items at any of our stores nationwide should this be more convenient, and a new in-house delivery service has been set up to deliver large Home items with the ability to deliver at weekends. As well as placing orders, customers are able to check their accounts and make payments online.

Other group businesses

NEXT Sourcing provides around 40% of NEXT Brand stock from our global supplier base, sourcing from 18 countries. It employs 3,600 people in 12 countries, including 2,700 in factories which we own.

Several years ago we started selling non-competing third party brands through the NEXT Directory. Last year we printed our first LABEL catalogue, dedicated to promoting our third party offer. We now issue four LABEL catalogues a year, to coincide with the launch of each major season. LABEL has its own dedicated website, labelonline.co.uk, and its ranges are also available through next.co.uk.

Lipsy designs and sells its own branded younger women's fashion products.

Corporate social responsibility

For NEXT, corporate responsibility means addressing key business-related social, ethical and environmental matters and ensuring we run our business in a responsible way. We see corporate responsibility as a key element of how we conduct our business as we believe it makes good business sense. Further information can be found on the corporate responsibility section of our website.

Key statistics from continuing business
Year ended January 2015 2014
Total Sales £4.0 billion £3.8 billion
Group profit before tax (before exceptional gains) £782 million £695 million
Total employees 50,018 52,533
Total full time equivalents 29,469 28,568
UK & Eire NEXT stores – number 539 541
UK & Eire NEXT stores – sq. footage 7.4 million 7.0 million
Average active Directory customers 4.1 million 3.7 million
Share buybacks – number of shares 2.2 million 6.2 million
Share buybacks – value £138 million £296 million

All figures from January 2015 Annual Report & Accounts.