Chief executive, Next
As the two leaders of the mid-market, comparisons between Next and Marks & Spencer are inevitable, so when Next’s market capitalisation became higher than M&S’s for the first time this summer (amid poor trading by its rival), Lord Wolfson must have been pretty pleased with himself. Trading in 2012 has been solid, with the high street bellwether recording a 4.8% increase in sales to £1.6bn for the half year to the end of July, while pre-tax profits were up 10.2% to £251m. But like-for-like sales fell £18m and are expected to be down £39m at full year. Still, Wolfson said growth in Next’s online business, the addition of profitable new space and good cost control more than offset the negative impact of this decline.
What he says… “Either we are overvalued or M&S is undervalued,” modestly playing down the market cap moment.
- Last year’s position 2
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