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Group revenue up at Shop Direct as it names interim CEO

Group revenue at Shop Direct jumped by 6.3% in the seven weeks to 22 December 2017, driven by a strong performance from lifestyle site Very and electricals.

The etailer, which operates Very, Littlewoods and Very Exclusive, also announced that group finance director Derek Harding has been appointed interim group chief executive and will take the reins from current group CEO Alex Baldock when he departs at the end of this month.

Revenue leapt 16.8% at Very, the group’s largest brand, but was down 12.6% at Littlewoods, which the group said was ”in line with the strategy of a profitable, managed decline for the brand”.

Total mobile sales at Shop Direct were up 18% year on year and the number of site visits grew by 5% to 102 million.

The etailer also saw another record breaking Black Friday, with retail sales up by 10.9% across the promotional period. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Ox trainers were one of the few fashion products on Shop Direct’s list of top Christmas sellers, which was dominated by electricals.

Departing group CEO Baldock said: “This was another record-breaking Christmas for Shop Direct, on the heels of 9% growth last year and 6% in 2015. 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.”

He added that he was ”immensely proud of turning a dusty old catalogue retailer into a profitable and innovative etailer.”

There is more change in the air for Shop Direct. Chief information officer Andy Wolfe and head of digital transformation Paul Hornby are to leave the business, as exclusively revealed by Drapers. Wolfe will depart in the summer and be replaced by Thoughtwork’s Jean Marc Domaingue as interim chief technology officer. Hornby will leave in February and Mike Francis, currently lead product owner at Shop Direct, will take on Hornby’s role in addition to his own.

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