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Next warns of price rises and staff shortages in run up to Christmas

Fashion retailer Next has warned over price hikes and staff shortages ahead of the festive season.

The high street giant said the issues would impact its deliveries in the run-up to Christmas, pointing to a lack of foreign workers in logistics and warehousing as one of triggers for concern.

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At a glance: 5 key points

  • Next has warned of price rises and staff shortages before Christmas. The retailer has blamed higher shipping costs for pushing up its prices. 
  • Chief executive Lord Simon Wolfson called on the Government to  ease immigration rules and take a “decisive approach to the looming skills crisis”.
  • Next said some areas of the business were starting to come under pressure from a lack of foreign workers, particularly in logistics and warehousing, which may affect its delivery service going into the festive season.
  • The retailer also warned over price rises amid the supply chain problems, with higher freight costs pushing up prices by about 2% in the first half and further increases set to come.
  • Prices are estimated to rise by around 2.5 per cent on average in the first half of 2022. Fashion tags will see a rise of 1 per cent and larger homeware items will rise by 6 per cent. 

What’s been said?

Next said: “We anticipate that, without some relaxation of immigration rules, we are likely to experience some degradation in our service in the run-up to Christmas.”

“The HGV crisis was foreseen and widely predicted for many months.

“For the sake of the wider UK economy, we hope that the Government will take a more decisive approach to the looming skills crisis in warehouses, restaurants, hotels, care homes and many seasonal industries.

“A demand-led approach to ensuring the country has the skills it needs is now vital.”

Speaking to the PA new agency, Lord Wolfson said the retailer may have to bring forward the next day delivery cut-off from 11pm, but stressed deliveries “won’t grind to a halt”.

Lord Wolfson added: “I hope that going forward the Government looks further into the future and doesn’t wait until the crisis is upon it.”