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The boss of Next has warned that the retailer faces a “very significant drop in sales” as a result of the effect of coronavirus on the business.

Lord Wolfson said online sales were “likely to fare better” than the shops, but would also suffer “significant losses”.

“People do not buy a new outfit to stay at home,” he added.

When coronavirus first appeared in China, Lord Wolfson said Next assumed the threat was to its supply chain.

However, he said: “It is now very clear that the risk to demand is by far the greatest challenge we face and we need to prepare for a significant downturn in sales for the duration of the pandemic”.