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Why the end of the Littlewoods catalogue era is a good thing

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Shop Direct, the UK’s second biggest e-tailer, has delivered a third consecutive year of record profits. In the year ending June 30, profits jumped 78% to £71.7m, boosted by sales growth and its ambitions to become a 100% digital retailer.

In June the online shopping giant announced its decision to cull the Littlewoods catalogue. It was a legacy piece of retail that’s been around for over 80 years, once a staple coffee table book in British homes. But it became less relevant amidst a shift to online shopping. Subsequently the company merged Woolworths.com into Very in the same month, followed by K&CO.com into Littlewoods.com in July and its online and catalogue brand Isme - which sold categories including womenswear and electricals - into its Very brand in September.

At the time Group Chief Exec Alex Baldock said “We’re now powered by two engines, Very.co.uk and Littlewoods.com. Freeing up investment tied up in our past means we can turbo-charge these two power brands and accelerate towards our future as a world-class digital retailer.”



Web traffic at Very is currently breaking the magical 1m per day mark, supporting Shop Direct’s claim that Very is now the UK’s fastest growing department store. Its mobile sales are 59% of total online sales, an indicator of changing consumer habits given that just three years ago, 72% of sales were from catalogue customers.
 
Very.co.uk and mobile have been the outstanding performers for us,” said Baldock in a statement released Tuesday morning.



“Being online-only means more mobile innovation, especially in personalisation where we aim to offer each customer an experience as unique as she is.
 
Four months in, we’ve made a strong start to the new financial year too. We’re in good shape for the peak Christmas period, and we expect growth, discipline and transformation to drive another 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.”

Published on Tuesday 27 October by Veebs Sabharwal

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