Online not killing the high street, says Next boss

Next boss Lord Wolfson believes that online retail is not negatively impacting high street retail, with the two able to work hand in hand to boost revenues. 


He claims that despite Next being the biggest high street retailer online, it is still growing its town centre presence, with the retail business actually benefiting its online sales.

Wolfson says: “The age of shops is not dead. Anything we can to improve choice, access, quality or price will lead to an increase in sales.

“Click and collect must be persuading some people to shop that wouldn’t otherwise do so.”

Next currently offers a service where anyone who orders online before 9pm can pick their shopping up in store after noon the next day. Wolfson claims that around 38 per cent of online shoppers choose this option, a number the firm hopes will rise when it extends that time to 10pm, a move that should happen by the end of the year.

However, it has no plans to try and push shoppers collecting goods in store to buy more while they’re there. He claims that around 20 per cent do, but insists increasing this number isn’t a priority, with most people wanting quick access to their purchases, not more marketing.

“The important task is to get customers their goods quickly. The key is to upsell the right stock in the right place.”

Next is also focused on building up its brand by developing its product ranges so that it becomes known as a risk taker rather than having to respond to the latest trends. Key to that is fabrics, with the firm aiming to improve the way it buys and manages fabric by taking risks and making purchases earlier and in greater quantities.

Next revealed a 8.2 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to £271.8m in the first half of the year, one of several retailers to see their performances improve. That is leading to hopes of a recovery on the high street.

Latest from Marketing Week

Marketing Week Meets… Mark Ritson

The Marketing Week columnist, consultant and professor explains why marketers need to talk about “making money first”, in a podcast recorded at the Festival of Marketing in October.


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here