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Shop Direct to shutter 'expensive' clearance arm

Shop Direct plans to close its Littlewoods Clearance arm, which sells unsold stocks from across the etailer’s brands, by the end of February next year.

Littlewoods Clearance comprises seven UK stores branded “The Outlet”, websites including Bargain Crazy and a Bolton-based fulfilment centre and head office. The plans will affect 143 permanent staff and six employees from agencies.

Sam Perkins, group retail director at Shop Direct, said: “While it has been successful in clearing unsold stock for many years, our standalone operation Littlewoods Clearance is expensive to run and is losing money. Aware of this, and the need to continue our digital transformation, which has seen us remove the catalogue and consolidate brands in recent years, we reviewed alternative options for clearance.

“We found that selling unsold stock in bulk to third parties is the most efficient way to clear it. Simplifying our approach in this way will allow us to free up money to invest further in our digital future and focus on our core pureplay online business.

“The proposal to close Littlewoods Clearance is a difficult decision, but one we believe is necessary for our business. Our priority is to provide a fair outcome for our team and we’ll do everything we can to support potentially impacted colleagues. The company’s recognised trade union, Usdaw, is aware of the proposals and we are keeping them updated on progress.”

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