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Shop Direct sets its sights on Europe

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In an in-depth interview with the Mail on Sunday, Shop Direct chief executive Mark Newton-Jones has revealed that the company is set to launch into Europe in July. The latest expansion plans come on the back of expected profits of £120m for the year to March 2009 and confidence that recent strong fashion sales will continue even when households cut back elsewhere:

Since the beginning of January, sales over the internet have been 50% higher than in the same period last year, buoyed by a doubling of sales in clothing for 18 to 25-year-olds.

“If a household budget is going to be clipped, I don’t think it will affect younger fashion sales as quickly,” says Newton-Jones, 41, who retains a West Midlands accent despite him leaving his home town of Solihull in his twenties.

Internet sales will account for 55 per cent of revenue so far this year from 18% in the year to March 2006. Trading profit before exceptional items is expected to be £120m in this year to March and overall sales are rising for the second year.

Shop Direct has 10.5m customers on its database, the Mail on Sunday adds, about half of which have made a purchase in the past 12 months.

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