// Next eyes major expansion as online host for other brands
// Next has reportedly been building a platform called Total Platform for the past year
// Follows recent news of opening five new beauty hall concept stores in space left vacant by Debenhams
Next is reportedly planning to transform its online business in a bid to seek additional income streams in a post-coronavirus climate.
According to The Telegraph, the high street stalwart is looking to adopt a new online platform called Total Platform, which would see it host the online operations for numerous other brands.
Given Next’s current £2 billion online operations consists of an ecommerce store that sells its own and other labels, the new plan means it could taking a big step outside of its core business model.
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Next chief executive Simon Wolfson has reportedly spent the past year “quietly” building a platform to allow the retailer to run other brands’ websites, as well as their back-end ops for a fee.
It could see the the fashion retailer moving into the same “white label” area that online-only retailers such as Yoox Net-A-Porter and Farfetch occupy, or perhaps offering a service similar to that of Shopify.
Next has reportedly tested Total Platform via the Little Label website for upscale kidswear, and there is speculation it has already signed an unnamed retailer with turnover of around £30 million to the service already.
“The website will have their URL, it will look and feel like their website, they will design it, they will have creative control over it, but it will link into all the other elements of our platform in exactly the same way as our own website does,” Wolfson told The Telegraph.
“What that means is, not only will we run their website, but we will also do all their warehousing, distribution, returns, call centre work, customer credit, international sites, we will do absolutely everything that is involved with selling to customers.”
However, Wolfson warned there were no certainties the service would be a success.
News of the new venture comes days after Next announced it would take over the beauty hall spaces of five Debenhams branches that the department store retailer is vacating in shopping centres owned by Hammerson.