|Joseph Hepworth & Son (1864-1982)|
|Public limited company|
|Traded as||LSE: NXT|
|Headquarters||Enderby, Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom|
Number of locations
|circa 700 stores (2011)|
|Revenue||£3.999 billion (2015)|
|£812.1 million (2015)|
|Profit||£634.9 million (2015)|
Number of employees
Next (LSE: NXT), styled as next, is a British multinational clothing, footwear and home products retailer headquartered in Enderby, Leicestershire. It has around 700 stores, of which 502 are in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and around 200 are in continental Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Next is the largest clothing retailer by sales in the United Kingdom, having overtaken Marks & Spencer in early 2012 and 2014. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
The company was founded by Joseph Hepworth in Leeds in 1864 as a tailor under the name of Joseph Hepworth & Son. Initially Hepworth was in partnership with James Rhodes, but the partnership was dissolved in 1872.
On his own, Hepworth expanded the company rapidly, becoming a pioneer for the development of chain stores in Britain. By 1884 the company had 100 outlets.
For much of its history Hepworth's was predominantly in the ready-to-wear suit market, and in 1963 the company brought in the celebrated Saville Row designer Hardy Amies to help revitalise its ready-to-wear suit collection.
History: Kendall's and Next
In 1981 the company bought womenswear retailer Kendall and Sons for £1.75 million from the retail conglomerate Combined English Stores. This gave Hepworth's over 600 shops in British high streets.
The intention was to redevelop Kendall's stores as a womenswear chain of shops to complement Hepworth's as a chain of menswear stores. Terence Conran, the designer, was Chairman of Hepworth's at this time and he recruited George Davies to work at Kendall's. However Davies's concept was to create a new chain, called Next, initially by converting Kendall's stores. The first Next shops opened on 12 February 1982, with the Kendall's conversion complete by the end of 1983.
Made chief executive in 1984, Davies then converted 50 Hepworths stores to the Next format, extending the total concept look at the same time to cover menswear. This allowed the development of mini department stores across the entire footprint, selling women's and men's clothes. This was added to by the introduction of Next interiors to stores which were deemed in the "right demographical areas." In 1986, Davies moved the group's headquarters from Leeds to Leicester, to be closer to the main garment manufacturers, and the company name was changed to Next plc.
By 1988, "after seven years of growth, Next had over-expanded suicidally" .. "some stores were not bringing in enough to pay the rent." Davies was sacked and the share price fell to 7p. Chairman Sir David Jones, accused him of being egotistical and taking Next to the verge of bankruptcy.
Next's prices in Ireland attracted criticism in 2009 when the company was one of four retailers accused of failing to pass on exchange rate savings to shoppers in the Republic.
In July 2010, a BBC investigation found Next was breaking the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 by billing customers for its delivery costs even if goods were returned within the seven working days. A spokesman for Next admitted that they had been doing this for three years but promised to comply by August 2010. Trading Standards said that the DSRs had been in force for ten years, and there was no excuse for not adhering to them. "Although the majority of businesses...are law-abiding, there is a small minority that are not and those are the companies we need to take action against."
In May 2014 the Living Wage Foundation bought Next shares and attended the annual general meeting in an attempt to persuade the company to pay at least £6.70 and become one of the UK's 700 living wage employers. Next was targeted because it claimed to be a good employer and was thriving. Professor Sir George Bain who set the minimum wage in 1999 said employers could afford to pay much more but acknowledged enforcement could cause unemployment in the retail sector.
In October 2014, the company was one of several retailers criticised by Janice Turner in The Times for failing to pay a living wage. UK taxpayers pay £28 billion to low-paid workers and Turner says retail companies – which have the highest proportion of low paid workers – are exploiting austerity and effectively adding staff wages to the UK welfare bill. When asked why, despite record profits their lowest paid workers were so poorly paid, Next replied that they had thirty applicants for every job advertised.
Next has three main channels: Next Retail, a chain of 500+ retail branches in the United Kingdom and Ireland; Next Directory, a home shopping catalogue and Website with more than 3 million active customers, and Next International, with 180+ international stores.
Its other businesses include Next Sourcing, for own brand products; Lipsy, which designs and sells its own branded younger women's fashion products through wholesale, retail and website channels.
Logos and marketing
Until circa 1991 Next used a lower case Courier-style typeface in black against a white background for its logo. This was replaced by the capitalised NEXT logo in a Roman-serif style type face. There were some variations of this such as the logo with each letter of NEXT in an individual square and in some stores in 2005/6 had the Next logo in a varying blue & black background with "X's" printed on them, as opposed to the black background. In addition, some variations in typeface occurred during the logo's use – including similar fonts that had serifs positioned above the "T" crossbar, similar to Garamond and others that had more in common with Times New Roman. In 2007 a new next logo was introduced, although the previous logo continued to be used until stock was exhausted.
Next clothing often carries reference to the origins of the company in 1982 with use of "82" or "1982" as a design feature on clothes in all ranges.
Prior to 2007 Next only advertised immediately prior to a sale, usually through brief television spots and newspaper advertising. In 2007 following a "disappointing" 7.2% fall in like for like sales, it announced it was investing "£17 million over the next three years to revive its existing stores and product offering" + an additional £10m for marketing. Yasmin Le Bon who modelled in the first Next Directory in Spring 1988 featured in an on-line fashion show.
In September 2007, to celebrate its 25th anniversary, Next launched its first television campaign in twelve years named 'Ali's Party' with the song 'Suddenly I See' and starring Brazilian supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio. All extra casts were Next employees, otherwise nicknamed 'nextras'. A second advert featuring Ambrosio, was screened in November 2007 and the songs were regularly played instore during the campaign.
An advert directed by Ben Watts and filmed on the banks of the river Seine was shown in September 2010 to reflect the season’s Parisian chic styles. It was soundtracked by The Specials’ "A Message to You, Rudy" and starred Brazilian model Emanuela de Paula and Spanish actor Jon Kortajarena.
- "Chairman". Next. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
- "Preliminary Results 2015" (PDF). Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- "Next PLC website". Retrieved 19 January 2016.
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- "Annual Report 2015" (PDF). Next. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
- "M&S Loses Britain's Largest Clothing Retailer Title to Next". Bloomberg. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
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- "Next history". Nextplc.co.uk. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
- The London Gazette, 9 July 1872, p.3121
- John Timpson, High Street Heroes: The Story of British Retail in 50 People (London: Icon Books, 2015)
- Laura Ugolini, Men and Menswear: Sartorial Consumption in Britain 1880-1939 Aldershot, Ashgate, 2007) p.193
- Alison Adbergham, 'View of Fashion' in The Guardian (UK newspaper, 8October 1963, p.8
- Rosemary Unworth, 'Hepworth Buys CES Offshoot' in The Times (UK newspaper), 12 may 1981, p.18
- Alexander, Hilary (15 May 2009). "Woodstock theme for 21st Anniversary of Next Directory". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- "Next Directory – a background history on Next". Thecatalogshop.co.uk. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
- Davies, George (15 October 1995). "Return of the fashion maverick". The Independent. UK. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
- Cave, Andrew (30 May 2010). "George Davis to open 60-branch chain in Gulf". Daily Telegraph. UK. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
- "Next P.L.C. to Sell Stores to Ratners". The New York Times. 12 October 1988. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
- "Next splashes £17m on youth brand Lipsy". 3 October 2008. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
- "Next Direct". Next Direct. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
- "Price is still not right". The Irish Times. 12 January 2009. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
- Susannah Streeter (9 July 2010). "Next breaks refund rules for online deliveries". BBC News. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
- "UK fashion retailer Next launches localized cross-border sales to Ukraine". 20 November 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
- "Living Wage Foundation buys Next shares and protests at meeting". BBC news. 15 May 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- Janice Turner (4 October 2014). "Don't make me pay your staff, Sainsbury's". The Times. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- "Example 1982 branding". Next. Archived from the original on 14 February 2009. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
- "Next launch on-line catwalk". Fashionunited.co.uk. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
- "Welcome to the new". Mad.co.uk. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
- "Next Christmas 09 – Emanuela de Paula, Nathan Bogle and Amy Hixon". Beauty Confessional. 3 December 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
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