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Shop Direct appoints Guy Farmer as group trading director

July 17, 2019

Shop Direct, the UK’s largest integrated pureplay digital retailer and financial services provider, has appointed Guy Farmer as group trading director. He will join the business in September 2019 and report to Sam Perkins, managing director, retail.

Guy is currently vice president and global retail own brand director at Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), responsible for all Boots branded products worldwide. During eight years at WBA, he has led a 155-strong multifunctional team and set up a global centre of excellence for the development of WBA’s own brand business. Guy has also held the roles of global director for Boots cosmetics brands, trading director for healthcare & lifestyle, and trading director for beauty. Guy previously spent 13 years at L’Oréal, progressing from marketing director to managing director and country manager for Portugal, following six years in brand and category management positions at Procter & Gamble.

At Shop Direct, he will work with category directors and the director of the company’s global sourcing operation to oversee multifunctional teams including buying, merchandising, design, sourcing, data intelligence, finance and trading. The amalgamation of these previously separate functions into category teams represents a new approach to the end-to-end customer experience and supply chain. It began last year with the appointment of fashion, home, electrical and developing category directors and is generating strong results, including a successful peak period which saw group revenue up 3.7% year-on-year for the seven weeks up to and including 28 December 2018.

Shop Direct’s retail team has also consolidated marketing activity under the position of chief marketing officer (CMO). Carly O’Brien, who joined the business in early 2019 and has been interim CMO since April, will take over the role permanently. She has 18 years’ customer management and financial services experience, most recently as marketing director at Virgin Money Digital Bank. She was previously head of customer acquisition marketing for current accounts at Royal Bank of Scotland and head of marketing at Bank of America. Her appointment as CMO shows Shop Direct’s ambition to use its rich data in new ways to create an even better customer experience.

Sam Perkins, managing director, retail, at Shop Direct said: “Guy’s and Carly’s expertise will allow us to make big steps forward in our mission to give customers the best products and online journey, whilst helping them spread the cost.

“Guy’s outstanding trading and product experience means he’s ideally placed to cement our category management approach and even further improve the speed and quality of our commercial and customer decisions. Carly is already an integral part of the team and will use her marketing expertise to bring us closer to our customers through data and enable them to connect with our retail brands in new ways.”



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As the UK’s largest integrated pureplay digital retailer and financial services provider, Shop Direct has annual sales of £1.96 billion.

Later this year, we will rebrand to The Very Group as part of plans to bring our name and identity in line with our largest and fastest growing retail brand

Our other brands are and We receive an average of more than 1.4 million website visits every day, with 74% of online sales completed on mobile devices.

We exist to make good things easily accessible to more people. With our multi-category range of famous brands, market-leading technology and data capabilities and unique financial services products offering flexible ways to pay, we’re well placed to deliver on that promise.

We sell more than 1,800 famous brands, including big name labels and our own exclusive brands. We have four million customers and deliver 49 million products every year. Our free click-and-collect service, CollectPlus, delivers to 7,000 stores across the country, increasing ease and convenience for customers.