“Record-breaking” Christmas at Shop Direct as new CEO announced

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Shop Direct

Littlewoods and Very parent company Shop Direct has announced strong Christmas trading alongside a raft of senior staff changes, including a new interim chief executive.

Group revenues in the seven weeks to December 22 rose 6.3 per cent, marking “another record-breaking Christmas” for the online retailer.

Mobile sales at the group rose 18 per cent, while site visits jumped five per cent to 102 million.

This was pushed up by its best Black Friday on record, seeing sales across the promotional period jump 10.9 per cent.

Sales at its fashion retail arm Littlewoods dropped 12.6 per cent, though Shop Direct said this was part of a managed strategy of decline.

This was propped up by continually strong sales at Very, which enjoyed a sales boost of 16.8 throughout the period.

Alongside its financial results, Shop Direct announced that its group chief executive Alex Baldock will be succeeded by group finance director Derek Harding on an interim basis at the end of this month.

According to Drapers, further senior staff changes are in the pipeline, with chief information officer Andy Wolfe set to leave the business in the summer to be replaced by Jean Marc Domaingue from Thoughtworks.

Its current head of digital Paul Hornby is also poised to depart next month, to be replaced by lead product owner Mike Francis while maintaining his previous role.

“This was another record-breaking Christmas for Shop Direct, on the heels of nine per cent growth last year and six per cent in 2015,” Baldock said.

“Once again, Very was the star of the show, with sales outpacing the UK online retail market. Our early focus on mobile continues to pay off, as it heads towards three quarters of our sales.

“Our long-term investments in data and technology continued, with an easier and more tailored Christmas shopping experience for our customers, particularly on mobile devices.”

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