Very Group’s rev­enues top £2bn mark for the first time

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Laura Onita

THE owner of shop­ping web­sites Lit­tle­ and is back in the black af­ter locked-down con­sumers snapped up Air­pod head­phones, Nin­tendo Switch con­soles and video games, push­ing sales past £2bn for the first time.

The Very Group, which changed its name from Shop Di­rect ear­lier this year, now ex­pects to re­turn to pre-tax prof­its in the year to June 30 af­ter a loss in 2019.

Un­der­ly­ing prof­its are ex­pected to be be­tween £255m and £270m, with rev­enues top­ping £2bn.

Sales at rose by 36pc in the quar­ter to the end of June, as shop­pers flocked on­line af­ter non-es­sen­tial stores were forced to shut. Over­all group re­tail sales, in­clud­ing at cloth­ing and home­ware seller Lit­tle­woods, rose by 28pc.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Henry Birch said the web­sites at­tracted “masses of new cus­tomers” be­cause they have “the right brands at the right price”.

Cus­tomers bought pil­lows, hair dye and TVs in lock­down. So far this week, the com­pany has sold more than £1m worth of fans and other cool­ing de­vices be­cause of the heat­wave, com­pared with £31,000 last year.

The re­tailer se­cured £75m of eq­uity in Novem­ber from its ul­ti­mate own­ers, the Bar­clay fam­ily, who are also the pro­pri­etors of Tele­graph Me­dia Group, pub­lisher of The Daily Tele­graph and The Sun­day Tele­graph, to help pay for a wave of last-minute pay­ment pro­tec­tion in­surance claims to­talling £150m.’s share of the UK non­food mar­ket grew by more than a per­cent­age point in the fourth quar­ter, tak­ing it to al­most 3pc.

The group did not use the tax­payer­funded fur­lough scheme and did not seek sup­port from any gov­ern­ment emer­gency loan pro­grammes.

Very’s fi­nance chief Ben Fletcher said the busi­ness had a cash head­room of more than £200m. Mr Birch added he is “ab­so­lutely con­fi­dent in our [fi­nan­cial] po­si­tion”.

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