While the oldest company in the group has been trading for nearly 150 years, the NEXT brand itself was created in 1982 – at the time a revolutionary retail concept, presenting coordinated collections of own branded womenswear and accessories in boutique-style shopping environments.
From the outset, the brand was considered aspirational yet affordable, with an appealing combination of distinctive style, good quality and value. With the addition of menswear (1984), home interiors (1985) and childrenswear (1987), NEXT swiftly became a full-line lifestyle brand.
In 1988, the launch of the NEXT Directory heralded a new standard in home shopping – its seasonal catalogues echoing the glamorous photography and production values of glossy fashion magazines. In 1999, NEXT introduced its online version of the Directory at www.next.co.uk – pioneering the concept of a single brand with three different ways of shopping (in-store, by phone or online).
Since 2001, NEXT has provided its customers with next day delivery as standard on most home shopping orders. Currently there are over 3 million active Directory customers and approximately 80% of NEXT's home shopping business is now transacted online.
NEXT Flowers was launched in 2001 and in 2005 NEXT introduced its gift list service. In 2007 NEXT launched its luxury Signature range of fashion and homeware and in 2010 its own brand NX Sports label. Other specialist product areas include electricals, designer branded fashion and NEXT's Baby Boutique.
In 2008, the Group acquired Lipsy, a younger womens fashion brand.
More recently, NEXT was confirmed as Official Clothing and Homewear Supplier to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. NEXT provided outfits for Team GB for the opening and closing ceremonies, produced uniforms for 4,500 technical officials plus suits for reception staff and supplied bedlinens and other home textiles for the athletes' village.
||J Hepworth & Son, Gentleman's Tailors is established in Leeds, England.
||Hepworth buys the chain of Kendalls rainwear shops to develop a womenswear group of stores called NEXT.
||The first NEXT womenswear store opens on 12th February. There are 70 NEXT stores around the UK by the end of July.
||NEXT for Men launches in August. By December there are 52 menswear stores.
The first mini department store in Edinburgh opens incorporating womenswear, menswear, shoes and a café.
||Debut of NEXT's first home interiors range.
First department store with womenswear, menswear and interiors opens in Regent Street, London.
||Parent company, J Hepworth & Son changes its name to NEXT plc.
The group acquires Grattan plc (mail order company).
||Launch of NEXT childrenswear.
||Launch of NEXT Directory – the brand's innovative new concept in home shopping.
David Jones appointed Chief Executive of NEXT plc.
||Sale of Grattan to Otto Versand.
||NEXT announces its brand strategy of "One Brand; Two Ways of Shopping", bringing together the common ranges across both retail and home shopping formats.
||NEXT's 300th store opens. The brand is now trading in 16 countries worldwide.
||Launch of shopping on the internet from the NEXT Directory at www.next.co.uk.
This extends NEXT's business strategy to "One Brand; Three ways of shopping".
||Next day delivery introduced as standard for orders placed before 5pm with the NEXT Directory.
||Launch of NEXT Flowers.
Simon Wolfson appointed Chief Executive.
||NEXT opens new larger format stores in Nottingham, Birmingham, Dudley and Newcastle Gateshead together with a large Home store at Glasgow Braehead.
||NEXT Home launches its Wedding List Service.
||John Barton appointed Chairman.
Launch of www.nextelectric.co.uk.
||NEXT celebrates its 25 year jubilee.
Launch of NEXT's luxury Signature collection.
||NEXT acquires younger women's fashion brand, Lipsy.
||NEXT extends its home shopping facility to the USA and over 30 other countries worldwide through Nextdirect.com.
Debut of NEXT's on-trend Runway and Miss N womenswear collections.
NEXT named British High Street Retailer of the Year.
||NEXT confirmed as Official Clothing and Homeware Supplier to the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.
||Ventura, the Group's customer service management business, is sold for £65m cash.
NEXT opens its first combined fashion, home & garden store at Shoreham-by-Sea.
||NEXT celebrates its 30 year jubilee.
NEXT now trades online in more than 50 countries worldwide.
The NEXT archive contains original clothing and marketing material from the first collection in 1982 through to the present day. The collection is cared for by Leicestershire County Council Environment and Heritage Service and can be seen by appointment.
Displays and exhibitions in the Fashion Gallery at Snibston Discovery Park, Coalville, Leicestershire often feature garments from the collection; for further details of these or to make an appointment to view the archive, call Sarah Nicol, Inspiring Collections Officer on 01509 815514 or get in contact via firstname.lastname@example.org.