Group revenue was up 3.7% year on year for the seven weeks ended 28th December 2018.
Shop Direct, which also operates Littlewoods, said the growth was achieved while maintaining a retail margin rate in line with last year. Clothing and footwear was the standout product category, up 8% year on year at group level and 15.7% at Very. This was driven by sportswear, which grew 22.8% at group level and 33% at Very.
The group recorded 107.3m site visits during the period, up 8% on 2017. There was an increase in the proportion of sales from mobile – 79% of the total, up from 74% during the same period the year before. Total mobile sales were up 12.7%.
Shop Direct held its earliest and longest Black Friday promotional period to date in 2017, from 9th to 27th November.
Henry Birch, group CEO of Shop Direct, commented: “I am delighted that against a challenging retail backdrop we delivered a record Christmas period in terms of total revenue whilst maintaining retail margin rate in line with last year. I’m very proud of what the team’s achieved. Throughout our peak trading period we focused on delivering a great customer experience and curating the right deals for our customers and our business during our extended Black Friday event. We put more emphasis on December than ever before and saw encouraging growth in key departments like sportswear and toys.”
Henry continued: “Looking ahead to 2019, we’ll focus on continuing to play an important role in the lives of our customers – those who value our unique combination of leading brands and the flexibility to spread the cost of purchases. Given the potential impact of the political backdrop on consumer spending, we expect the year will be challenging for retailers. However, our peak trading performance gives us reason for cautious optimism.”