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Shop Direct invests £10m in etail

Home shopping giant Shop Direct Group, the owner of Littlewoods Direct, has invested £10 million in a new web platform to help it catch up with online rivals Next Directory and Asos.

The new platform, created by ecommerce provider ATG, will give the company greater flexibility and enable it to upload new stock more quickly and more regularly, helping it react quicker to fashion trends.

It enables Shop Direct Group to host sites for third-party brands. The technology will also feature social networking functions.

The site will launch in July alongside Shop Direct Group’s relaunch of the Woolworths brand as a pure-play etailer. The group hopes the increased functionality will help it achieve its goal of being an online-led retailer. Chief executive Mark Newton-Jones has set a target for 70% of group sales to come from the group’s websites within three years. The group’s online business now accounts for 56% of total sales, up from 18% three years ago.

Sources told Drapers that Shop Direct Group had looked closely at online rival Asos, focusing on the speed with which the young fashion etailer is able to buy, style, photograph, upload and market its range, when it was designing its new site.

Supermarket Tesco and luxury brand Louis Vuitton use ATG.

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