Liverpool City Region based Online retailer will break £2bn sales level for first time
The Very Group, the Liverpool-based online retail group, formerley known as Littlewoods, reported strong revenue growth and an expected return to profit this year, in a trading update today.
Ahead of the release of figures for the year ended June 30, the group revealed today that it has seen a 65% increase in website visits, driving exceptional retail sales growth of 36% at Very.co.uk in the final quarter of fiscal year 2020 and leading to full year growth of more than 10%.
Annual group revenue will exceed £2bn for the first time, while Very.co.uk’s share of the UK non-food market rose by more than one per cent in the final quarter.
New customers more than doubled in the final quarter with very strong growth across both cash (+128%) and credit customers (+80%).
The group expects to report full year underlying EBITDA the range of £255m to £270m.
It also boasts a strong liquidity and cash position with year-end cash headroom of more than £200m.
The online, multi-category business model has again proven resilient in the face of rapidly-changing customer behaviour, while the financial services business has remained robust with improving payment rates and default rates in line with historic trends.
Today’s statement also revealed that, despite experiencing peak trading levels, Very has proven resilient and flexible, maintaining full operational capacity throughout the COVID crisis, including a transition to working from home for all contact centre staff.
Given the strong performance and positive outlook, the company has not utilised the Government’s Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (CRJS) and has not accessed government loan schemes.
Chief executive, Henry Birch, said: “Thanks to the tireless efforts of our colleagues, we performed very strongly in quarter four, despite the challenges of COVID-19.
“We prioritised the safety of our people and delivered an uninterrupted service for new and existing customers, who chose us as their preferred shopping destination during lockdown.
“As in the financial crisis, our business model proved adaptable and resilient in the face of volatile conditions and changing consumer buying patterns.
“We experienced peak trading levels and recruited unprecedented levels of new customers as our online multi-category model, supported by financial services came to the fore.”