Cyprus Mail

UK’s softening labour market ‘must weaken’ consumer demand, Next boss says


A softening employment market in Britain “must weaken” consumer demand in 2024/25, the boss of clothing retailer Next (NXT.L), said on Thursday.

“I’m not going to try and predict exactly what effect (a) softening employment market will have on demand, all we can say is one way or another it must weaken it,” CEO Simon Wolfson told Reuters after the group reported first half results.

Official data published last week showed the UK unemployment rate rose, the number of people in work fell sharply and vacancies dipped below 1 million for the first time in two years.

While Wolfson said he was confident inflationary headwinds would continue to ease, benefiting both Next’s costs and the money in consumers’ pockets, he said it was important to recognise that next year “won’t be all plain sailing.”

“What the balance will be between people feeling less pressure on their incomes and less employment opportunities and less inflation on things that are competing with clothing, it’s impossible for us to say,” he said.

“All we can say is it’s not universally positive.”

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