A standout performance in online retailer Very.co.uk’s fashion and sports segment has helped drive a rise in retail sales across the festive trading season.
Retail sales increased by 6.1% year-on-year in the seven weeks up to and including 27 December with growth across all four product categories.
Fashion and sports was the performer, up 9.6% year-on-year, with sportswear surging 19.8%.
Total revenue, including financial services income, meanwhile, was up 3.4% year-on-year.
The multi-category retailer said it received 92.5m website visits in the period, up 14.4% year-on-year, amid “strong” new customer growth with new credit customers up 22% year-on-year. Sales via the Very app increased 32.3% year-on-year.
The retailer was among the first in the market to launch its longest-ever Black Friday promotional period (8 November to 4 December), with Very.co.uk website and app traffic up 18% compared to the previous year’s campaign.
Very.co.uk is owned by The Very Group the UK’s largest integrated online retailer and financial services provider, which also operates Littlewoods.com. The Very Group was rebranded from Shop Direct earlier this week.
Including Littlewoods, group retail sales grew 2.5% and group revenue was flat year-on-year in the seven-week period.
“We’ll continue this momentum in 2020 as The Very Group, with our rebrand the latest milestone in our company’s long history,” CEO Henry Birch said.
James Yacoub, retail analyst at GlobalData, says: “The Very Group continues to feel the pressure from competitors such as Next, Amazon and Asos that have upped its offer to include a greater range of third party brands, flexible credit options as well as unique delivery saver schemes.”
To allay the growing competition, Yacoub says The Very Group has introduced some positive initiatives to help future proof its business model, such as an investment in personalised communication via emails.
“Personalisation coupled with its increased focus on customer service are positive steps in the right direction, however, the retailer must ensure it remains relevant in a highly competitive market which it can do by ensuring it stocks the latest must-have products and partnering up with prominent influencers to help bolster its brand recognition.”