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Littlewoods Recharges Retail Revenues with Mobile

Tim Maytom

myvery app shop direct
Littlewoods owners Shop Direct have credited mCommerce as rejuvenating the brand's revenues, with chief executive Alex Baldock stating that smartphones are "where the action is for online".

Shop Direct, which also operates online fashion retailer Very.co.uk, has reported record profits for the year, with sales up 4.3 per cent to £1.86bn and profit before tax growing by 43.6 per cent during the 53 weeks ending 30 June 2016.

This period represents Shop Direct's first full financial year as a pureplay digital retailer, having ceased catalogue production in January 2015, and makes them the UK's second largest digital-only retailer.

The group credited its investments in technology as the key to its success, with mobile transactions now making up 62 per cent of online sales, and daily traffic from smartphones increasing by 42 per cent year-on-year.

The group's focus on mobile includes adding new features including push notifications and touch ID to its MyVery app, which is nearing 1m downloads, and investing in big data and machine learning tools to create a cutting edge, personalised experience for customers.

"This was the year our investments in technology really started to pay off," said Baldock. "Removing the shackles of the catalogue has been liberating, and has allowed us to invest in the areas that matter most to our customers – making their shopping experience easier and more personalised, particularly on mobile.

"We've made big strides in mCommerce, big data and personalisation. But there's a lot more to play for in these areas. In particular, we believe that artificial intelligence can change the game for us in data and personalisation. We're deploying it already and are serious about going much further."