Next is to make its menswear offer older and less trend-led, but has hit back at claims it has underperformed in the category.
According to rival retailers, Next’s sales and market share in menswear have declined after the chain gave its offer a more directional and younger feel, akin to River Island’s.
Next said at its half-year results on Wednesday that menswear had performed “broadly in line with the company”. But group product director Christos Angelides added: “We are making adjustments to take [our menswear offer] a little older and contemporary rather than fashion forward.”
Chief executive Simon Wolfson said Next had shifted more manufacturing to China and Southeast Asia to militate against rising input costs, but warned some price rises would be passed on to customers.
Next saw profits rise 15% to £213m for the half year to July 2010. Sales rose 5% to £1.58bn over the period.