Liverpool’s Very Group tops £2bn revenue for first time

The Very Group CEO Henry Birch

Liverpool-based online retail and financial services giant The Very Group said on Thursday its revenue exceeded £2 billion for the first time in the year to June 30 and it returned to profit.

The group is owned by the billionaire Barclay brothers and operates online retail brands Very.co.uk and Littlewoods.com.

It said Very.co.uk retail sales increased 10.5% to £1.22 billion, driving Very.co.uk revenue up 6.8% to £1.58 billion and group revenue growth of 2.9% to £2.05 billion.

Profit before tax was £48 million and underlying EBITDA earnings were £264 million, each including Covid-19 related costs.

The group reported strong sales growth across most product categories with electrical (+18.0%) driven by audio and small domestic appliances (+76.0% and +22.9% respectively) and home products (+13.0%) — with garden tools the standout category (+35.2%).

Growth in women’s and children’s sports clothing was 21.6% and 22.6% respectively.

The Very Group said its financial services business has “remained robust with improving payment rates and default rates in line with historic trends.”

The Littlewoods “managed decline” slowed at -8.8% to £460.9 million which was “within expectations.”

The firm said it has made a strong start to the current trading year with group retail sales in double-digit growth.

The Very Group CEO Henry Birch said: “I am delighted to announce a strong set of results and a return to profitability in FY20 thanks to the combination of the commitment of our people and our flexible and resilient business model.

“Despite the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, the business has proven its adaptability yet again. 

“We delivered for record levels of new customers, who used the Very app for items to entertain their families and improve their homes, and increasingly valued our flexible ways to spread the cost.

“We prioritised the safety of our colleagues, whilst remaining focused on customer experience.

“We migrated to, tested and launched Skygate, our new automated fulfilment centre, which enables us to process customer orders within 30 minutes, whilst materially reducing costs and is all set to support our Q2 peak trading period.

“The economic landscape will remain unpredictable.

“However, we believe our flexible and resilient business model, which gives customers access to the brands they love via flexible ways to pay, will help us thrive as customers continue to rely on online shopping.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.