Next turns to TV to lift its image: Change not to be taken as sign that sales are flagging, says company

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The Independent Online
NEXT, the fashion retailer, will today launch a pounds 2m television advertising campaign in an attempt to shake off its image as supplier of uniforms for 1980s yuppies.

The decision to advertise on television is likely to take Next watchers by surprise, as the chain is one of the most successful on the high street. It has been reporting sales growth of more than 15 per cent, comfortably outpacing rivals such as Principles, Marks and Spencer or Richards. On Friday it is expected to announce interim profits of between pounds 32m and pounds 35m compared with pounds 23m last time.

A spokeswoman for the group said the campaign was aimed at strengthening the Next brand image and should not be taken as a sign that sales were flagging.

It is also unusual for clothing retailers to advertise on television, although most take space in magazines and newspapers. BhS has just completed a campaign, although that was aimed at establishing a new identity. Next hopes the campaign will bring in new shoppers as well as win back those customers who still believe it is stuck in the 1980s mould. A spokeswoman said it would emphasise its casual and separates collection to counteract the impression that it is mainly a retailer of business suits.

The advertisements will be seen on Channel 4 and five regional ITV stations in the Midlands and North of England. There will also be advertisements in more than 400 London cinemas.

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