// The Very Group reports a steep rise in Christmas sales & reveals it has named a former Walmart director as its new chair
// Very said its fastest Christmas order was processed and despatched in 18 minutes and 32 seconds by Skygate
Very Group has put in a strong Christmas trading performance with revenue up 11.5% on a two-year basis in the seven weeks to December 24.
Sales at Very, which primarily trades through its website, climbed 21.9% compared to two years ago as the retailer achieved double digit growth in the electricals, home, and fashion and sports categories.
However, group revenue was down 3.3% compared to the same period a year ago when the UK was subjected to Covid19 restrictions.
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Very Group chief executive Henry Birch said: “Thanks to the hard work and commitment of our people, we’ve delivered another amazing Christmas for our customers and strong trading results for the period.
“Very recorded outstanding double-digit growth compared with the pre-pandemic festive season in 2019, as our customers enjoyed a more normal Christmas. They bought back into fashion, focused on wellness, got their hands on the latest consoles and doubled-down on Christmas decorations to make up for last year’s more muted celebrations.
“Our performance was supported by our strong supplier and delivery partner relationships and our highly automated fulfilment centre Skygate.”
Very said its fastest Christmas order was processed and despatched in 18 minutes and 32 seconds by Skygate, which ran on 100% renewable energy during a peak trading period for the first time.
The group’s automated chatbot was used by 137,000 customers a week and helped to reduce calls at the Very contact centre by 17% year-on-year.
Very also announced it had named Dirk Van den Berghe as non-executive chair in its update.
Van den Berghe is a former walmart executive vice-president and regional chief executive for Asia and global sourcing.
Birch said: “Dirk has successfully transformed and grown some of the very best companies in ecommerce, marketplaces and payments, and we believe he will make a material difference in helping us achieve our growth aspirations. He is the perfect person to lead our board and assist with strategic options that we are considering over the coming year as we enter the next important phase of the group’s development.”
Looking ahead, Birch said: “While the next 12 months will no doubt bring challenges as we all continue to navigate life around Covid-19, the last two years have shown that our model, which combines multi-category digital retail with our Very Pay platform, is both highly resilient and highly relevant. We’re going into the new year with great momentum and are well-set to keep building on our success.”