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The Very Group shows Christmas trading behind last year’s lockdown ecommerce high – but ahead of 2019

Image courtesy of The Very Group

Very Christmas sales fell by 2.6% in 2021, compared to Christmas 2020 – when shoppers were pushed online by lockdowns of non-essential retail – but were 21.9% ahead of pre-pandemic Christmas 2019. 

Very is The Very Group’s flagship brand, alongside, and its fastest growth in the seven weeks to December 24 was in electricals (+28.2% on 2019), followed by homewares (+24.5%) and fashion and sports (+17.7%). Overall group revenues, including income from Very Finance, were down by 3.3% on the same time last year, but up 11.5% on Christmas 2019. 

The Very Group today also showed the effect of automation on its business. It opened Skygate, its advanced automation fulfilment centre, in the spring of 2020, and today it said that its fastest order of this Christmas was processed and despatched in 18m 32s. Its automated chatbot, which uses machine learning, was used by 137,000 customers a week, cutting the number of calls to its contact centre by 17% compared to last year. 

Henry Birch, chief executive of The Very Group, says: “Very recorded outstanding double-digit growth compared with the pre-pandemic festive season in 2019, as our customers enjoyed a more ‘normal’ Christmas. They bought back into fashion, focused on wellness, got their hands on the latest consoles and doubled-down on Christmas decorations to make up for last year’s more muted celebrations.

“Our performance was supported by our strong supplier and delivery partner relationships and our highly automated fulfilment centre Skygate, which enabled us to consistently deliver for our customers throughout the period.

“While the next 12 months will no doubt bring challenges as we all continue to navigate life around Covid-19, the last two years have shown that our model, which combines multi-category digital retail with our Very Pay platform, is both highly resilient and highly relevant. We’re going into the new year with great momentum and are well-set to keep building on our success.”

Very and Littlewoods are both Top50 retailers in RXUK Top500 research. 

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