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Internet proves ideal for Ideal Shopping Direct

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A focus on customer service and internet shopping has helped deliver a sharp growth in profits for TV-to-online shopping group Ideal Shopping Direct.

This week the company unveiled a steep rise in profits to £6.7m in the year to January 2 from £1.1m the previous year. Sales had increased by 13.5% to £117.3m. Like-for-like sales rose by 10.9% to £111.7m while pre-tax profits rose to £6.7m from £1.1m.

Emphasis during the last year on developing a “genuine multichannel offering” has resulted in customers visiting the retailer’s website who have not come by way of the group’s television channels. Now, said Ideal Shopping Direct, it would be “well-placed to develop a mobile commerce offer during the coming year”.

There was particularly strong growth online, with internet sales up by 69.8% to £38.5m. Web sales accounted for 36.5% of total sales at the company. Categories of strong growth included crafts, where sales rose by 18.2% to £27.6m.

Chairman Paul Wright said the results demonstrated “the value of our strategy of moving Ideal Shopping Direct forward to being a multichannel retailer with strong positions in niche and product categories.

“During the year internet sales have continued to grow and have now increased by approximately 70% over the last two years.”

The results come a year after Ideal Shopping said it was refocusing on its original fundamentals of customer service, customer loyalty and diversity of product. A multichannel offering was also to be developed. This week the company said there had been “significant progress” during the year in delivering on these targets, while a focus on niche categories of craft and gardening had also been successful.

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