Clothing retailer Next is to trial a new store format at its Oxford Circus store in London from May, it was announced this week, as the retailer prepares to face increased competition and continued difficult trading conditions.
The format, designed in-house, will be rolled out across six new and two existing stores from August, with a more comprehensive roll-out planned if the trial stores are successful.
A spokesman for Next says the new look will ‘not be a dramatic change’. ‘It’s more about point-of-sale [material] and the till area – tweaks and a refresh,’ he maintains.
The spokesman adds that the change was prompted by the fact that stores have had the same format and layout ‘for many years’ and rules out any changes to the corporate marque.
The news comes on the back of the retailer’s announcement of its financial results for 2006 and, in a statement to analysts, Next chief executive Simon Wolfson said store refurbishments would concentrate on facia, wall treatments, till points, fixtures and lighting.
According to Wolfson, the retailer will spend about £16m on the modernisation of the top 10 per cent of its stores.
The announcement also highlighted the retailer’s plans to increase net selling space by around 41 000m2 – 10 per cent of its total selling space – over the next year, and plans to trial the sale of large electrical goods to its Next Directory customer base.