BrightHouse’s problems were laid bare today when the rent-to-buy business posted an eye-watering slump in profitability.

The embattled chain blamed changes to its customer sign-up process – including more detailed assessments of income and expenditure – for steep drops in customer contracts, revenues and EBITDA.

While the Financial Conduct Authority appears satisfied with the changes, BrightHouse is now seemingly banking on the reintroduction of late fees in order to hit targets.

But even that might not be enough to transform its fortunes, particularly at a time when discount operators like Aldi and Lidl are appealing to similar shopper demographics by selling general merchandise goods at rock-bottom prices.

One retailer aiming to tackle the propositions of its rivals head on is Next, which today revealed plans to launch a new own-label range.

The fashion chain has fallen behind the likes of Inditex, H&M and Primark in the fiercely competitive sector, but is clearly determined to close the gap – and it would take a brave man to write Lord Wolfson off.

Quote of the day

“It’s an interesting and exciting project. The first year will be a trial and we expect modest sales. Thereafter we will see how it goes.”

− Next looks forward to the launch of its new own-label range

Today in numbers


The value the online grocery market is expected to reach this year, according to data from Mintel.


The like-for-like decline at WHSmith’s high street stores in the 15 weeks to June 10.

Tomorrow’s agenda

Majestic Wine takes centre stage in the City as it unveils its full-year results.

Luke Tugby, head of content