Along with the steep rise in Christmas sales, The Very Group has named former Walmart director Dirk Van den Berghe as new chair.
The Very Group has reported revenue up 11.5% on a two-year basis in the seven weeks to December 24th. Sales climbed 21.9% compared to two years ago, however group revenue was down 3.3% compared to the same period a year ago when the UK was subject to Covid19 restrictions.
The Very Group chief executive, Henry Birch, said: “Thanks to the hard work and commitment of our people, we’ve delivered another amazing Christmas for our customers and strong trading results for the period. Very recorded outstanding double-digit growth compared with the pre-pandemic festive season in 2019, as our customers enjoyed a more normal Christmas.”
Very has credited much of its success to improved automation, with the company’s Skygate fulfilment centre running on 100% renewable energy during a peak trading period for the first time. Meanwhile, the group’s automated chatbot helped reduce calls to the Very Contact Centre by 17% year-on-year.
Very also announced it had welcomed former Walmart executive vice-president and regional chief executive for Asia and global sourcing, Dirk Van den Berghe, as non-executive chair.
Henry Birch added: “Dirk has successfully transformed and grown some of the very best companies in eCommerce, marketplaces and payments, and we believe he will make a material difference in helping us achieve our growth aspirations.”
In our January issue, editor Rachael Simpson-Jones spoke to toy category managers Ann-Marie Edwards and Nicole Sweeney.
Nicole told us that The Very Group has been delighted with its recent, very positive results, with growth across all categories. Anne-Marie added that the pandemic really accelerated this growth and helped drive a substantial influx of new consumers that have migrated to The Very Group’s brands for the first time.
From a toy perspective, the company has maintained share in a difficult market, and Nicole and Anne-Marie discuss how this has been achieved.
The team has already begun looking ahead, and they told us they were looking forward to London Toy Fair. “Seeing the product in the flesh is key,” explained Anne-Marie. “There are probably 30-40 active Very suppliers at the show, and those three days offer the perfect chance to catch up with them. We’ve also carved out time to look for the fresh and new, and to consider ranges and suppliers we’re not currently involved with.”
“There’s a lot of new product out there and it feels like we’re in for a great year,” added Nicole.
With more on how the Very team plans its ranges for the year ahead and how the group supports its offering in terms of marketing and promotions, read the full article, which appeared in the January edition of Toy World here.