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Shop Direct looks to digital investment to boost market share in difficult market

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Shop Direct Group this week pledged to continue investing in digital shopping as it fights to win market share in a difficult environment.

Over Christmas, said the home shopping group behind brands including, isme and Littlewoods in a Christmas trading update, 80% of its sales were made online. Of those, 28% were made over mobile – 150% more than last year, and two-thirds over a tablet computer. More than a third (37%) of online customer interactions were over a mobile device.

Total sales grew by 5% in the six weeks to December 29. That was ahead of a 3% rise in sales in the second half of 2012.

“With consumer confidence remaining subdued,” said group chief executive Alex Baldock, “retailers will have to fight even harder to win market share. To ensure we remain a winner, we will continue to invest in delivering a great digital shopping experience for our millions of customers, whenever, wherever and however they choose to shop with us.”

Shop Direct said its busiest week of the year was that starting December 9, while more than 90,000 parcels were delivered on Christmas Eve.

Strong sales were seen in tablet computers, including the LeapPad 2 and InnoTab 2 targeted at children, while own label dress sales were 32% up on last year. The company also said it detected a growing appetite for SMART televisions, with 6,000 sold in the period.

Baldock said: “This Christmas was well ahead of last year against strong comparatives, demonstrating that our combination of great products, market-leading financial services and unique e-commerce capabilities is hitting the right note. Peak trading came later than ever, highlighting customers’ growing trust in the online and mobile retail model and our ability to deliver.

“These results provide a solid foundation for us to build on as we accelerate our trajectory to become a world- class digital department store.”

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