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Shop Direct full year losses narrow

Littlewoods owner Shop Direct said its pre-tax losses narrowed from £114m to £21m in the year to April 30 after a year of “significant restructuring”.

In the year, turnover remained flat at £1.7bn.

EBITDA jumped 38% to £132m, aided by “greater operational efficiency, reduced cost base and lower bad debts”.

It said its “resilient retail trading” was driven by the “successful launch of new retail brands and the continued expansion of the portfolio of fashion brands”. The new retail brands include online fashion website Very, Woolworths.co.uk and Littlewoods Europe.

Online sales increased 19% in the year, and since year end have “continued to increase” and now represent around 70% of all units sold. Shop Direct said it is “successfully transforming” itself from a catalogue retailer to an online retailer, and its click and collect service is now available through 3,500 UK retail outlets.

Shop Direct Group chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said: “This is a strong performance given the challenging economic conditions that have prevailed throughout the year.

“In the year ahead Shop Direct Group expects to deliver profit growth through continued improvements to our product ranges supported by further operational efficiencies. We are investing in a multi-million pound advertising campaign to further increase awareness of our retail brands.

“In the current environment we naturally remain cautious on outlook but feel we are uniquely positioned for future growth.”

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