October 15, 2019 / 3:54 PM / a month ago

CEO of Next sells shares worth more than 10 million sterling

LONDON (Reuters) - The chief executive of Next (NXT.L) has sold more than 10 million pounds ($12.7 million) worth of shares in the British clothing retailer to finance an investment in a private venture outside the retail industry, the company said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Shoppers walk past a Next store on Oxford Street in London, Britain December 17, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo

Simon Wolfson sold 153,000 shares for 66.05 pounds each, netting 10.12 million pounds, according to a stock exchange notification. The sale equates to about 10% of his total holding in Next.

Wolfson joined Next in 1991 and has been CEO since 2001. He is a prominent supporter of the Conservative party who backed Britain leaving the European Union and sits in the upper house of parliament.

A spokesman for Next said the share sale was Wolfson’s first for seven years.

“It’s mainly to fund an investment in another existing, private and non-retail (venture) that he has,” he said, declining to give details.

The spokesman said Wolfson remained committed to Next.

“He’s going nowhere,” he added.

Shares in Next have increased 71% so far this year. They touched a 2019 high of 69.48 pounds on Tuesday, before closing at 68.29 pounds, valuing the business at 9 billion pounds.

Last month, the retailer reported a “disappointing” start to autumn trading which it said was down to unusually warm weather in parts of Britain, rather than shoppers holding back on buying new clothes due to uncertainty over Brexit.

($1 = 0.7860 pounds)

Reporting by James Davey. Editing by Andrew MacAskill and Mark Potter

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