O2 to trial new outlet inside Next stores - including one in Hampshire

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Mobile operator O2 is trialling new outlets within four Next stores – including one in Hampshire - as both brands seek to adapt to ‘current challenges’ facing the high street.

Shoppers will be able to browse and buy O2 products and services alongside Next's clothing and homeware offer in a move the two brands hope will appeal to consumers seeking convenience.

O2 is opening new outlets in Next stores. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

O2 is opening new outlets in Next stores. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

O2's Shop-In-Shop will be prominently positioned on either the ground or first floor in each Next store, with the aim of attracting maximum footfall as customers browse.

One of the stores involved in the initial trial will be the Hedge End branch at Wildern Mill.

The other shops are Next's Warrington Gemini, Swindon Orbital and Nottingham Giltbrook branches.

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The first stores, in Warrington and Southampton, open on Friday, with the second two to follow next month.

Each store will be approximately 650 sq ft in size, offering a range of products and services in line with those of traditional O2 stores.

O2 sales director Gareth Turpin said: ‘We are delighted to be working with Next on the launch of our Shop-In-Shop trial.

’The current challenges facing the high street are never far from the headlines, but we are committed to driving innovation within our retail business by embracing flexibility.

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‘We look forward to hearing their feedback on the trial and are excited to roll this out more widely in the coming months.’

Next reported a 2.7 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £319.6 million for the six months to July as online sales growth continued to offset high street woes.

The group reported a 4.9 per cent fall in like-for-like sales across its 499 high street shops, but online sales jumped 12.6 per cent, leaving overall full-price brand sales up 4.3 per cent.

O2 revealed in July that revenues in the UK jumped 5.1 per cent in the year to £2.98 billion with underlying profits, the company's preferred measure, up 6.4 per cent to £919 million in the six months to June 30.

O2 has more than 450 retail stores across the UK.