// Next CEO Lord Wolfson sees annual pay climb by 28% to £3.4m
// This is due to a £2.4m long-term shares bonus – taking his overall pay to the highest since 2015-16
// His pay means he earned 178 times the average Next worker’s salary of £18,802 a year
Next’s chief executive has seen his annual pay climb to a five-year high of £3.4 million thanks to a bumper shares award as the retailer weathered torrid conditions amid Covid-19.
Lord Simon Wolfson enjoyed a 28 per cent pay hike thanks to a £2.4 million long-term shares bonus – taking his overall package to the highest since 2015-16, according to the fashion retail giant’s annual report.
The shares boost offset a 20 per cent pandemic salary cut for all directors of the group between April and June last year, while they also agreed to forgo annual bonuses.
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Wolfson’s pay details follow annual results for Next earlier this month revealing profits plunged 54 per cent to £342 million in the year to January as its high street stores suffered amid repeated lockdowns.
However, shares in the retailer have soared by more than three quarters over the past year as Next has bolstered its performance with strong online sales.
It raised its profit forecast for 2021-22 alongside the recent annual results after online sales were better than expected in February and March, up 60 per cent on the same period two years ago.
Next is therefore expecting to post a pre-tax profit of £700 million for the current financial year, up from its previous target of £670 million.
Wolfson’s pay haul means he earned 178 times the average Next worker’s salary of £18,802 a year, the annual report showed.
It comes after the group moved last year to increase the potential payout under its long-term incentive scheme from 200 per cent of salary to 225 per cent.
The report also revealed Wolfson saw his annual base salary rise by 0.6 per cent to £824,000 in February, in line with the awards made across the workforce.
It also showed that employees across the firm stand to benefit from the stellar gains seen in Next stock over the past year, with around 26 per cent or 9500 of its workforce holding around 6.4 million shares between them.
with PA Wires