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Shop Direct posts first sales rise in a decade

Shop Direct's sales rose 2.6% to £1.78 billion for the 53 weeks to April 30 - the home shopping company's first sales increase in more than a decade.

Shop Direct, which owns the Littlewoods brand, said EBITDA jumped 130% to £60.9 million for the year. Current trade has also been positive, with sales up 2.2% in the 26 weeks to the end of October.

Shop Direct Group chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said: "We are three years into our five year transformation programme and are pleased with progress to date. We are particularly encouraged that, even in this challenging trading environment, we have seen sales growth. As the economic climate gets tougher, we are well placed with strong online growth and a broad spectrum of products creating a one stop shop for our customers."

Online sales now account for more than 40% of total sales and Shop Direct said it was on track to meet its target of 70% of sales to come from online by 2010/11.

Shop Direct said it has benefited significantly from its £20 million investment in TV and print advertising as well as a stronger focus on customer service.

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