When the fashion retailer posts results next week its boss’s views will influence sentiment towards the entire retail industry.

In the US investors hang on the every word of the sage of Omaha, Warren Buffett.

Over here perhaps the UK retail equivalent is the wise man of Enderby, aka Next chief executive Lord Wolfson.

The apparel giant posts full-year results a week on Thursday.

Alongside the numbers, which typically go down in style in the Square Mile, Wolfson usually provides some perceptive comment on industry conditions and the wider economy.

His words can influence market sentiment as well as Next’s share price and have proved prescient in the past.

Positive picture

Next week industry watchers will be keen to hear whether he reaffirms the cautious optimism that accompanied Next’s Christmas trading update.

Then, he highlighted political uncertainty at home and international economic turbulence as risks.

But Wolfson thought that overall, the outlook for consumers looked not bad.

“Low inflation, an end to real wage decline, healthy credit markets and strong employment all paint a somewhat more positive picture than recent years,” he said.

Judging by retailers’ performance so far this year, Wolfson’s judgement looks as if it still holds good.

Prospects are stable or improving for many, although there have been some high-profile upsets along the way and happy days are not quite here again.

As for Next, it is expected to report profit growth of about 11.5% next week and is in the midst of a special dividend programme.

Such success is all testament to the executional focus at Enderby, as well as the clarity of the longer view to the horizon.