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07 Lord Simon Wolfson (8)

Chief executive, Next

Publicity-shy Lord Simon Wolfson is as often talked about for his political intellect as he is for his retail prowess, and Next’s results days have become as important for Wolfson’s soundings on the economic outlook as they have for information about the retailer’s own performance. Wolfson’s cautiously optimistic outlook in September - that there would be “no meltdown in consumer spending” in 2011 - was a boost to retailer confidence across the board, while his comments that price hikes in cotton will have to be passed on to consumers (with tickets up about 8% for spring 11) will doubtless set the industry standard.

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