Very Group touts return to profit as revenue tops £2bn for first time

The Very Group Paul Hornby Andy BurtonVery Group touts return to profit as revenue tops £2bn for first time
"The business has proven its adaptability yet again,” says Very Group CEO
// Revenue totals £2.05bn for The Very Group
// The past year saw new shoppers flock to, with a 14.1% rise in customer base
// Andy Burton to leave his role as CTO, hunt now underway for replacement

The Very Group on Thursday revealed retail sales rose 10.5 per cent to £1.23 billion, driving group revenue growth of 2.9 per cent up to £2.05 billion.

In its full year results for 2020, The Very Group (formerly known as Shop Direct) said that “despite unprecedented challenges, we’ve broken £2 billion revenue for the first time and returned to profit. It’s all down to our committed people and our resilient, adaptable business”.

READ MORE: The Very Group former ecommerce boss returns as customer experience director

In the 52 weeks to June 30, saw its customer numbers rise 14.1 per cent to 3.4 million, bringing its total group customers up by 10.6 per cent to 4.5 million.

Profit before tax came in at £48 million and underlying EBITDA of £264 million, with the Littlewoods and owner noting that Covid-19-related costs had been included in those results.

Littlewoods continued to struggle throughout the 2020 financial year, although its revenue decline slowed by 8.8 per cent to £460.9 million, compared with an 11.3 per cent decline the year before.

The group finished the year with a cash balance of over £200 million and net debt reducing by £144 million.

“Despite the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, the business has proven its adaptability yet again,” said The Very Group chief executive Henry Birch.

“We delivered for record levels of new customers, who used the Very app for items to entertain their families and improve their homes, and increasingly valued our flexible ways to spread the cost.

“We prioritised the safety of our colleagues, whilst remaining focused on customer experience. We migrated to, tested and launched Skygate, our new automated fulfilment centre, which enables us to process customer orders within 30 minutes, whilst materially reducing costs and is all set to support our Q2 peak trading period,” Birch added.

“The economic landscape will remain unpredictable. However, we believe our flexible and resilient business model, which gives customers access to the brands they love via flexible ways to pay, will help us thrive as customers continue to rely on online shopping. Our purpose, ‘to make good things easily accessible to more people’, has never been more relevant,” said Birch of the months ahead.

As part of its full year trading announcement on Thursday, The Very Group announced that its chief technology officer Andy Burton would be leaving in February 2021, to take on a new role in a different sector.

The group said a search is now underway to find a successor to Burton.

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  1. Shame they are still holding out on paying the PPI payments they owe. Over a year to make a decision and 10 weeks after that to receive a cheque. I wonder if Mr Burton will have to wait that long for his payout? Not VERY impressive really.


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