Next, the clothing retailer, is set to target wealthier shoppers and will soon be carrying £150 evening dresses and £300 suits, which is set to compete directly with the Autograph label at Marks & Spencer.
The usual prices for eveningwear at Next are below £80, but it is targeting premium products to be sold at prices that the group would previously have shied away from.
This plan has come about after the retailer reported a hike in profits for the first half. It attributes this increase to it being prepared to take risks with its fashion lines. The group has also adopted a new purchasing strategy of buying for all four seasons, rather than splitting their year into two as most other retailers do. This allows them to have adequate clothing available for the different climactic conditions, particularly during the spring and autumn when the weather is unpredictable.
Next saw an increase of 19% to £324m in pre-tax profits for the six-month period to July. It has outperformed competitors, such as M&S, and this can be attributed to the fast growth of its home shopping sector and overseas expansion. Unfortunately, its shares closed 3% down at £69.60.
The company launched a website in China as the huge market is a good opportunity, however, there are many administrative and logistical hurdles to overcome.
15 SEPTEMBER 2014, China
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