Analysis: Next and ‘business as usual’ in the time of the coronavirus

Next chief executive Lord Wolfson

Coronavirus is dominating headlines, from TV bulletins to the front pages of every newspaper section.

For some retailers, the pandemic poses an existential threat but many will ride out the turmoil and, when the situation calms, those that have managed to keep an eye on ‘business as usual’ as well the emergencies that occur along the way will be better placed to take advantage of a recovery.

Next chief executive Lord Wolfson, who reported the retailer’s full-year results yesterday, was candid that coronavirus is “the biggest hit that the retail industry has seen, certainly in my career”, but was at pains to point out that it remains vital to evolve.

He said: “At some point, this will pass and the most important thing is to manage through the crisis, but it’s important to move the business forward.”

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