January 3, 2019 / 8:30 AM / 8 months ago

Next boss says UK consumer 'not in a bad place'

Shoppers outside a Next store during the Boxing Day sales on Oxford Street in central London, Britain December 26 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - The boss of British clothing retailer Next said on Thursday the UK consumer “is not in a bad place”

Chief Executive Simon Wolfson said the most important factors impacting consumer spending were earnings growth and employment.

“Both of those numbers are good - we’re seeing real earnings growth and employment’s very strong,” he told Reuters after Next updated on Christmas trading.

He said levels of uncertainty in the UK economy around Brexit were, however, having an impact on spending.

“I don’t think they are wiping spending out but they are definitely making people a little bit more cautious than they would have been,” he said.

Wolfson said the switch in trading to online from physical retail stores was more pronounced in the Christmas period.

“That trend’s definitely continuing. It’s one that retailers are going to have to grapple with and get used to,” he said.

Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Keith Weir

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