Very and Isme posted a combined retail sales increase of 27%

Very and Isme posted a combined retail sales increase of 27%

UK catalogue and online retailer Shop Direct has reported a "record" performance over Christmas, boosted by higher sales at Very and Isme, as well as mobile growth.

The company, which also operates the Littlewoods business, today (13 January) said total group sales grew 5% during the six weeks up to and including 27 December.

Newer brands Very and Isme, which Shop Direct describes as "the future growth drivers of the business" posted a combined retail sales increase of 27%, while Littlewoods and KandCo saw combined sales decline 5%. 

Meanwhile, year-on-year digital sales rose 14%, taking online to 84% of total sales - up from 80% in the prior year. Mobile sales jumped 64% and accounted for 43% of online sales, compared to 28% last year. 

The group said the week commencing 30 November was the busiest of the year, while 2 December (Cyber Monday) was the busiest day.

Group CEO Alex Baldock said: "We're proud to report a record Christmas for Shop Direct. We've come through an exceptionally tough environment, and come through it stronger."

Baldock said this Christmas was another "milestone" on its journey to become a world class digital retailer.

"Our newer brands, Very.co.uk and isme.com, once again outpaced the market with sales growth of 27%. For that, we can thank our strongest ever product offering, with the likes of Adidas, Apple, Babyliss, Samsung, Superdry and Ugg among our best sellers."

But he warned: "The retail market has been highly promotional. We've responded selectively, but we've kept our discipline in stock and cost control, and are ahead of our EBITDA and profit targets. Looking forward, we will continue to invest to build a world class digital retailer.

"Our outlook for the rest of 2013-14 does remain cautious, though: we're not banking on this market being any less challenging."