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Hundred brands on board for Very Exclusive launch

Shop Direct has unveiled plans for its standalone luxury website VeryExclusive.co.uk, which will launch with about 100 brands during London Fashion Week next February.

Managing director Sarah Curran said it will offer customers a “head-to-toe look”, selling women’s clothing, footwear, accessories and beauty.

The platform include an accessible luxury arm offering diffusion and second lines from brands including Marc Jacobs, McQ, Red Valentino, Carven, Kenzo, See by Chloé, Vivienne Westwood Anglomania and J Brand. There will also be a high street luxury division focusing on premium collections from retailers such as Reiss. Curran said the direction of the offer will be “must-have hero pieces. It’s not about basics.”

Very Exclusive will target women aged 26 to 35. It will offer shoppers the chance to set up an account with a representative APR of 18.9% and will retain Very.co.uk’s ‘take 3’ option, whereby customers can spread payments over three months.

Curran, who joined Shop Direct in December, said the reaction from potential brands and retail partners had been positive. “The fact we have such a strong group database makes for a really compelling story with regards to incremental business.”

The website, which will offer mobile access, is still in development so navigation and how the two arms will be presented is yet to be confirmed, though editorial content will play a central role.

Led by Curran, the Very Exclusive team includes head of buying Vikki Kavanagh, who joined in July from her buyer role at Harvey Nichols; Hugh Longland, who has held a number of roles at Shop Direct and will oversee strategic brand partnerships and marketing; Emily London will join in the next few weeks as head of content from her role as editor of US style website Refinery29; style blogger Simon Glazin, who will become social media editor in the coming weeks; and Lauren Stevenson, who will join from Harrods to oversee PR and communications.

Curran is recruiting for further roles across buying, creative and trading. The team will work out of Shop Direct’s headquarters in Speke, Liverpool, and via a satellite team based at the company’s London Pollen Street office, which will include buying, editorial and PR.

Shop Direct group retail and strategy director Gareth Jones is overseeing the development of the site. He declined to reveal Shop Direct’s exact investment in Very Exclusive, saying it was “multimillions” of pounds.

He added: “This feels like a natural step for our strategy. At Very we have aspirational customers that have shopped with us once to buy an Apple iPad that we haven’t seen again. And we know through exit testing and what they search for, these brands will make them return, and help us talk to new customers.”

There also isn’t anyone in the market offering three months interest-free credit for this type of product – so it will be a retail first.”

Readers' comments (4)

  • Mark Ashton

    Genius idea..

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  • Andrew Tompsett

    Brilliant strategy and I an excited for when they add the mens offer

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  • Genius or 'My-Wardrobe.com' in disguise?

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  • Merchandising isn't mentioned under 'further roles' although I suppose this may be included in trading. Stock management is going to be very important to avoid the necessity to discount stock too early in the season and put relationships with the brands at risk.
    Interesting that the buying team seems to be operating from London while the trading/merchandising team will be operating from Liverpool. If editorial/PR/buying need to be in London because that is where the action is, then the whole team should be there to make sure they are all following the same strategy. I wonder where Sarah Curran will be based, or will she be racking up the frequent flyer miles between London and Speke airport? She's going to want to be close to the London team, but as MD she's going to need to be close to the finance/trading teams too.
    Whatever happens, it's going to be interesting.......

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