Simon Wolfson economics prize
Lord Wolfson's basic salary was increased by 1% but he missed out on his performance bonus. Reuters

Lord Wolfson, the boss of clothing retailer Next, has missed out on his annual bonus for the first time in almost two decades, in a further sign of malaise for the British high street.

According to the company's annual report, which was published on Tuesday (18 April), Wolfson's salary fell 58% year-on-year to £1.8m ($2.3m) in the 12 months to 28 January. Next's boss received a 1% increase in its basic salary, which rose to £766,000, but missed out on his bonus after the company reported its first drop in profits in eight years.

It marks the first time Wolfson has missed out on his annual bonus since 1999.

In the year to 1 January, profits at the high street retailer fell 3.8% year-on-year to £790.2m, which Next blamed on a host of "inflationary pressures".

The pound's sharp decline in the wake of the Brexit referendum and increasing costs related to the National Living Wage and the Apprenticeship Levy were among the factors mentioned by the company.

A shift in customers' spending habits, which sees consumers spending more on eating out and and holidays than on clothes, also played a part in denting the group's profits.

"It has been a challenging year for Next and the remuneration outcomes for the directors have reflected this," the company said in a statement.

"Total annual remuneration earned by our executive directors for the financial year 2016/17 was significantly less than that earned for the financial year 2015/16. In the view of the Remuneration Committee, this is appropriate and aligns the remuneration received by management with the experience of shareholders."

Next added executive directors Michael Law and Jane Shields will receive a 1% increase in their basic salary to £416,000 each. However, that is considerably lower than the 15% pay rise the company planned to implement this year, while finance director Amanda James received a 16% pay rise to £416,200, compared with the 18% increase that was originally forecast.