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Next chooses Slough to test its new fascia

Next has chosen the home of the BBC’s The Office as a test bed for its image overhaul by unveiling its new logo in Slough, Drapers can reveal.

Shoppers at the Berkshire town have been the first to catch a glimpse of what chief executive Simon Wolfson described last week as the “magic and excitement” to be injected into the brand. The logo itself is reminiscent of Next’s launch logo first seen in the 1980s.

The store will open next month on Slough Trading Estate. But the rest of the country will have to wait until the official unveiling of the new fascia and accompanying store design in May, at a refitted shop in Bluewater in Kent.

The brand revamp mirrors Next’s gradual move towards a more trend-led clothing offer. This will be achieved by shifting sourcing from China to Turkey and by air freighting its top-performing lines, according to Wolfson.

The retailer is also introducing a premium product line after a previous strategy to chase lower price points backfired. Wolfson said this range would sit just above Next’s top price points and would most likely be called Next Signature, although it also recently registered the trademarks Next Silver Label and Next Boutique.

At the other end of the price spectrum, Wolfson said it was too early to assess the performance of Next’s value chain Lime, although the group now has 11 Lime stores. It has also submitted a planning application for a site in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Last week, Next revealed that profits for the year to January 27 rose 6.5% to £478 million, against group turnover of £3.28 billion. However, like-for-like profits slid 7.2%.

- As Drapers went to press, rumours emerged of a possible bid for the company by the management team, thought to be about 2500p a share.

INDUSTRY OPINION

What do top brand specialists think of Next’s new logo?

William Grobel is a consultant for brand valuation specialist Intangible Business, with clients including Procter & Gamble and Laura Ashley

THE VERDICT: “It’s more contemporary than the old logo, but it is lowering its brand positioning with lower-case text. It looks more in line with a mass-market brand. If Next is trying to buoy its mid-market position and adopt a premium stance, why lose that advantage?”

Independent brand consultant Sean Pillot de Chenecey works with brands such as Unilever, Vodafone and Bacardi

THE VERDICT: “It’s not leading edge, but by no means does it need to be because of what Next is. It has been fairly conservative with the logo considering it has been talking about sharpening everything up. It looks like what one would have expected it to do a couple of years ago. It could have gone a bit further.”

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