Shop Direct has posted year-end revenue growth of 1.5% to £1.96bn as flagship brand Very.co.uk put in a strong performance in what it described as a “challenging market”. EBITDA was up 11% to £262.3m.
Very continued to outperform the online non-food retail market, the business said, with revenue up 9.9% to £1.4bn (FY17: £1.26bn) in the year ending 30 June 2018, driven by strong customer recruitment, increased app penetration, and good growth in Electrical and Seasonal categories.
Littlewoods’ revenue was down 14.5% to £569.7m (FY17: £666.4m) driven by the annualisation of the closure of the commission scheme in the prior year, plus a challenged Furniture & Homeware performance.
Very customers increased 8.5% to 2.82m, boosting total group customers by 2.2% to 4.02m. Operating profit before exceptional items grew 9.5% to £224.6m and the group posted a statutory loss before tax of £24.7m (FY17: profit of £24.9m) driven by the further provision of £128m to cover additional customer redress and a provision of £22.5m to cover closure costs associated with the new fulfilment centre.
New CEO Henry Birch, who joined the business from Rank Group in March, said: “Four months into my role as CEO, I’m hugely excited by the potential of Shop Direct. Today we’re announcing results that show a good underlying performance in a competitive external market.
“Impressive growth in Very, and increases in group revenue and EBITDA show the resilience of our business, which is mobile-first, multi-category, and both a retailer and a credit provider.
“In the last year we’ve become an even more customer-centric organisation, growing customer numbers to over four million. Our record net promoter score (NPS) is testament to our progress, as is making vital investments in technology and infrastructure to meet our customers’ future needs.
“We’re trading in line with our expectations and preparing for the important peak season. It’s a changing and competitive market but our growth trajectory and differentiated customer offer gives us confidence for the year ahead.”