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Next expects 'toughest year since 2008' despite profit rise

Retailer Next has warned that 2016 could be the "toughest" year since the financial crisis.

Next has warned that 2016 could be the 'toughest' since the recession Credit: PA

The high street giant, which is based in Enderby in Leicestershire, posted a 5% rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £821.3 million for the year to the end of January.

The group had already warned over results in January after a difficult Christmas due to unusually warm weather.

Next said it was bracing itself for a slowdown in the global economy and for profits to fall by up to 4.5% in a year that "may well be the toughest we have faced since 2008".

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Npower to cut a fifth of its UK workforce

Credit: Katie Collins/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Energy firm Npower will announce this week it is to cut around 2,500 jobs, according to reports.

A spokesman for Npower declined to comment.

Npower, which has 4.9 million accounts, has major plants in the UK including Staythorpe in Nottinghamshire, and offices across the Midlands. It is not yet clear where staff will be affected.

The announcement is expected to be officially made on Tuesday.

  1. Chris Halpin

Burslem defends country’s highest % of empty shops

Burslem in Staffordshire has, for the second year running, been named the worst place in the country for empty shops.

A study by the national retail analyst, Local Data Company, says a third of units in Stoke-on-Trent's 'mother' town are unoccupied. But the city council and local businesses reject the report and insist things in Burslem are getting better. Chris Halpin reports.

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  1. National

Business Secretary refuses to discuss stance on EU

Business Secretary Sajid Javid has refused to speak about his decision to vote for Britain to remain within the EU.

Earlier this week, Mr Javid wrote an editorial for the Daily Mail claiming that while he would not vote for Britain to join the EU, with a "heavy heart" he would be voting 'in' come the referendum in June.

After meeting with businesses earlier today, the Bromsgrove MP brushed off further questions from reporters, before being ushered away by his aides.

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