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Shop Direct makes first profit in 10 years

Shop Direct, parent company of Very, Littlewoods and Isme, has reported its first pre-tax profit in 10 years, netting £6.6m over the 12 months to June 30, up from a £57.7m loss last year.

Group sales for the business rose 1% to £1.69bn, with Very and Isme up 18%. The business identified these two retailers as “the future growth drivers of the business”.

Sales at Littlewoods and catalogue business K & Co fell 7%.

Overall EBITDA grew 22% to £132.5m, up from £108.9m last year, and exceptional costs were reduced from £46.2m in 2012 to £8.4m this year, resulting in the boost to profits.   

The company said 78% of sales now come from online, up from 75% last year, with more than a quarter – 27% - made on mobile devices.

The number of catalogues distributed during the period halved to 4 million.

Chief executive Alex Baldock said: “These results mark an important milestone in the journey of Shop Direct into a world class digital retailer. We’re delighted to report a positive pre-tax profit for the first time in 10 years, giving us a solid platform from which to move forward.

He added: “We have a new level of ambition and have set out a clearly defined and disciplined strategy for the continued evolution of Shop Direct, with world class personalisation at the heart. Our new corporate brand reflects this sharp focus and our confidence in the continued digital development of the business.”

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