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‘Real women’ the focus of Shop Direct ad strategy

Home-shopping giant Shop Direct Group is to adopt Debenhams-style “real women” marketing campaigns and may launch new catalogues in its pursuit of the grey pound.

The business, which comprises 11 home-shopping retailers, including mature men’s and women’s wear businesses Kays, Marshall Ward and Great Universal, and young fashion businesses Very and Littlewoods, has hired Debenhams creative director Mark Woods to spearhead the move. Woods joined Shop Direct this week in the same role.

Group retail director Gareth Jones told Drapers: “We have a broad selection of [mail-order] brands, especially in the mature market. Mark has been very active in looking at that [demographic] in the last 12 to 18 months [at Debenhams], and in pulling together campaigns that reflect older customers.”

Jones would not reveal whether Shop Direct would add a new name to its portfolio of catalogues for mature shoppers, but added: “From our research we know that people see [retirement] as a second youth. The kids have fled the nest and it brings [a boost in] disposable income as a result, and they are using some of that spend on clothing.”

Woods worked on a string of Debenhams marketing campaigns designed to reflect a broader demographic, including its September ad campaign featuring older women.

Jones said: “The one size fits all approach to marketing [our different catalogues] is just not acceptable.”

He also told Drapers that Shop Direct would focus heavily on “m-commerce” - shopping via mobile phones - and on using video online, both to show its garments and to explain its flexible finance packages. It is on track to hit its target of securing more than 70% of turnover from etail by next year, he added.

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