Shop Direct winds down Woolworths as it ramps up investment in Very.co.uk
June 2, 2015
The transition, which will take place in mid-June, will give Woolworths shoppers access to the wider product range, enhanced credit offer and free, speedy delivery offered at the group’s flagship brand Very.co.uk.
Customers will have more than 10,000 extra products to choose from and can take advantage of Very.co.uk’s compelling buy now, pay later credit offer for purchases over £100.
The retailer will redirect investment from Woolworths into propelling growth at its most popular brands, Very.co.uk and Littlewoods.com. Shop Direct will invest in cutting edge technology and customer analytics to create an easy, personalised online shopping experience.
Woolworths has grown steadily under Shop Direct’s ownership but is its smallest digital department store. There is already a big crossover between the two brands with more than a third of Woolworths customers holding a Very.co.uk account.
Shop Direct bought the Woolworths brand in 2009, after administrators were unable to find a buyer for the whole of the collapsed business. The acquisition importantly brought the children’s brand Ladybird into the Shop Direct business.
Ladybird has helped make Shop Direct’s digital department stores a destination for mums. It is the group’s largest childrenswear brand with sales soaring under Shop Direct’s ownership.
Growth has been driven by its performance at Very.co.uk, where Ladybird sales have surged 200% since the acquisition.
Shop Direct group chief executive Alex Baldock said: “This decision will help fuel the growth engine of this business, Very.co.uk.
“It’s a shame to say goodbye to Woolworths, a brand that still holds a place in the heart of every pick ‘n’ mix fan, but our customers are telling us that Very.co.uk is where they want to shop.
“We’ve got to focus on the areas that matter most to them and making our biggest website the best in the world is our priority.”
Shop Direct kickstarted its transformation from a catalogue business into a world class digital retailer two years ago.
The strategy has been paying dividends; the retailer recorded a 512% jump in pre-tax profits to £40.4m in its last financial year. The growth is driven by the performance of Very.co.uk, which now turns over more than £800m per annum.
Shop Direct is committed to making the transition to Very.co.uk as seamless as possible for Woolworths customers. They will retain the same account number and credit limit at Very.co.uk.
Baldock added: “We want to make this a hassle-free transition for our loyal shoppers. Woolworths customers who already shop with Very.co.uk love the brand; we’ll do everything possible to ensure the experience is just as positive for those new to Very.co.uk.”
For more information, please contact:
Gemma Goldfingle/ Heather Astbury 0844 292 3986
Simon Sporborg / Helen Smith/ Eilís Murphy 0207 404 5959
ABOUT SHOP DIRECT
Shop Direct is the UK’s fourth largest online retailer, with annual sales of more than £1.7 billion. Our digital department store brands include Very.co.uk, which is now a £800 million brand, and receive over a million website visits every day.
Shop Direct exists to make good things easily accessible to more people. With our department store range, market-leading ecommerce and technology capabilities and unique financial services offer, we’re well placed to deliver on that promise.
We sell over 1,000 famous brands, including big name labels and our own exclusive brands, and deliver 48 million products to our four million customers every year. Our click and collect service, Collect+, delivers to more than 5,500 stores across the country, increasing ease and convenience for customers.