Shop Direct has announced a 78% surge in full year profit to £71.7m, delivering a third consecutive year of record results for the pure-play etailer.
The business, which owns Very.co.uk, VeryExclusive.co.uk and Littlewoods.com, said group sales climbed 3% to £1.8bn in the year to June 30, 2015.
The results were driven in part by the growth of its Very.co.uk brand, which delivered more than £850m in sales, up 21.1%. Mobile sales at the brand also increased, up 50%, now accounting for 59% of total online sales.
Profits were also aided by the decision to become a fully digital retailer, with Shop Direct culling its catalogue production during the year after more than 80 years. It also closed legacy brands K&Co, which merged into Littlewoods in July, and Isme, which merged into Very in September, as well as Woolworths.
In addition to claiming Shop Direct to be the UK’s second biggest online pure-play retailer, group chief executive Alex Baldock said Very is also the UK’s fastest growing department store.
“Very and mobile have been the outstanding performers for us. We’re working hard to keep our lead in m-commerce, and Very is now the UK’s fastest growing department store,” he said.
“This is now a disciplined business too, in the way we sell, spend and lend, which makes for a more profitable and resilient Shop Direct.”
“We passed some important milestones last year. We called time on the catalogue, and we are now a pure-play retailer dedicated to digital. We’ve transformed quickly to this more focused business - only three years ago, nearly three-quarters of our sales were from catalogue customers.
“Being online-only means more mobile innovation, especially in personalisation where we aim to offer each customer an experience as unique as she is. We’ve tailored her online experience, including the marketing that brings her in, the online shop she then enters, and the way we engage with her after she’s bought. Our investment in big data and technology has started to pay off and is making these new levels of personalisation possible.”
Baldock added the business has made a strong start to the new financial year and is in good shape for the peak Christmas period. He also said he expects a fourth record year.
“That said, we’re nowhere near the finished article and we’ve only scratched the surface of the full potential here. The competition is ferocious so we must and will continue to invest heavily in our digital future, and keep up the pace on our transformation. These are exciting times for Shop Direct.”