Fashion giant Next has added technology and fitted kitchen areas to its Next Home format in an attempt to keep pace with rival Marks & Spencer.

The retailer unveiled both departments last week when it opened a 16,055 sq ft (1,490 sq m) Next Home store at the Barton Square extension to Manchester’s Trafford Centre.

The technology department features Next-branded computers and TVs, as well as branded consumer electronics such as iPods (pictured). It is next to the electrical appliance section, which sells products such as toasters, and is another first for Next Home.

Next head of visual merchandising Simon Taylor said the retailer would add technology sections to the three Next Home stores due to open this year if there was available space.

The fitted kitchens depart-ment comes with a design service and fitted bedrooms are also on offer. Next sells fitted kitchens online, but the Barton Square shop is its first in-store presence.

In-store graphics have been changed by retained consultancy Dalziel + Pow and dark wood customer service and ordering areas have been installed.

Taylor said that the Barton Square branch was likely to form the design template for future Home stores.

M&S has made inroads into the technology market by introducing in-store gadget and electronics shops.


Next unveiled full-year results last week as chief executive Simon Wolfson warned of tough times this year. “We can see no reason why there should be any recovery in consumer spending in the year ahead,” he said.

  • Group sales increased 1.4 per cent to£3.33 billion

  • Group pre-tax profits rose 4.1 per cent to£498 million

  • Retail like-for-like sales from stores were down 3.2 per cent

  • Sales from the Next Directory rose 3.3 per cent, with profits up 14.3 per cent

Wolfson said that overseas business represented a “significant opportunity” for the company and that there were plans to develop a wholly owned business in central Europe and Scandinavia.