Next – womenswear, menswear, children’s clothing and furniture

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Tracing its roots back to a store started in 1864 by Joseph Hepworth, the company was rebranded numerous times before finally settling on Next in 1982.

Initially focussed exclusively on womenswear, the company profited from a moves into stocking menswear, children’s clothing and furniture and has since become influential in each of these markets.

Despite starting out in Leeds, West Yorkshire, the company relocated their head offices to Enderby, Leicester following a buyout in 1982 – which also happens to be one of the main locations used by rivals Asda for their non-food department. In terms of sales, Next are considered to be the largest clothing retailer in the UK – though it is constant competition with Marks & Spencer in this regard, having briefly lost this particular title to the company in 2013.

Next shop in Altrincham

The majority of their business is done through the company’s 540 stores in Britain and Ireland, with online portal Next.com still struggling to assert itself as one of the company’s leading ecommerce companies. However, Next is one of the only brands to have maintained a successful catalogue business through their Next Directory brand – however, these largely serve as an advertisement for their physical stores and online presence rather than being a standalone product.

Next have long been famous for the amount of attention people pay towards their January sales, with evidence of people camping outside stores in order to be first in the queue on the first day, with some reports of violence between customers in these situations– however, this fervour has died down in recent years due to the proliferation of online shopping.