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Simon Wolfson

Chief executive, Next

Ever the master of managing City expectations, Simon Wolfson didn’t disappoint the analysts this year, delivering better than expected figures for mainstream giant Next and proving himself as one of the best retail traders through the recession.

In September, the retailer upped its profit forecasts for the third time in five months and it now expects full-year profits to come in about flat on last
year at £429m, thanks largely to improvements to product.

Wolfson continued to challenge the Government on issues of personal taxes and VAT and successfully negotiated with suppliers to keep the impact of currency fluctuations on pricing to the consumers to a minimum in the second half of the year.

His words of wisdom in terms of improving consumer confidence also brought hope to what has been a miserable sector over the past 12 months.
Wolfson’s relationship with Tory Party leader David Cameron (they reportedly meet every other Monday) could help put retail higher on the political agenda.

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