Shop Direct, the retailer behind Very.co.uk and Littlewoods.com, has reported a sharp rise in profits after it abandoned catalogue shopping and invested in mobile apps.
Statutory pre-tax profits in the 53 weeks to the end of June were £105.6m, a record figure and up 20pc on the prior year, a 52-week period.
Stripping out the one-off costs of accounting changes and payment protection insurance compensation claims, along with other exceptional items, underlying pre-tax profit was up 43.6pc to £150.4m.
Shop Direct, which is owned by Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, the owners of Telegraph Media Group, said the increase was driven by strong growth at Very.co.uk, where sales were up on a 52-week basis by 13.9pc to top £1bn for the first time.
The increase outweighed declining sales at Littlewoods, which stopped printing its catalogue in January 2015, to go online-only. Shop Direct’s overall revenues increased 2.4pc on a 52-week basis to £1.83bn, outpacing the retail sector.
Alex Baldock, Shop Direct’s chief executive, said the retailer “hasn’t seen much impact” on trade from the EU referendum.
He said: “We’re confident we’ll have another record year.
“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.”
Shop Direct is focusing growth plans this year on its own brand fashion label, V by Very. Mr Baldock said he expected sales of £170m in the first year.