Very Group powers ahead in festive season as star brand outperforms
Online retailer The Very Group has reported a buoyant set of figures for its festive period with the seven weeks to December 25 seeing overall group revenue rising 15.3% year-on-year. It surpassed £500 million for the period for the first time.
It also saw an 18.1% surge in retail sales for the period while retail sales at its star Very.co.uk operation were up 25.2%, enabling it to record its best ever Christmas trading period. This follows strong trading throughout 2020.
The Very and Littlewoods owner said home and electrical were the standout categories, up 46.2% and 44.8% respectively and it gained over 500,000 new Very customers, up 25.5% year-on-year. Sales via the Very mobile app were also up 33%.
Very’s retail sales for the Black Friday promotional period (6 November to 2 December) rose 25.8% and web traffic rose 55% for the firm’s most successful Black Friday period yet.
Fashion wasn’t one of the star categories this year, which is understandable given the limited opportunities consumers had for socialising in recent months. But the company still reported Very’s fashion and sports category sales up 4.1%, driven by women’s sportswear (+37.6%), men’s sportswear (+22.2%) and kids’ sportswear (+33.1%).
Continuing trends for wellbeing and self-care during the pandemic helped its ‘other’ categories to grow 4% – driven by fragrance and beauty (+12.2%), and cycling (+4.7%).
The company relied heavily on new technology during the festive season with 150,000 customers a week using the AI-based Very Assistant chatbot. And the firm used AI to provide “additional, highly tailored product recommendations that complemented items already added to customers’ baskets”.
There was also a new targeted promotions feature on the Very app, that allowed the company to offer app customers “exclusive deals that were relevant for them” via push notifications.
On Black Friday, Very customers saw deals on whatever page they landed, not just on the homepage. “Relevant, targeted promotions were added to every product page, allowing customers to find the right products at the best price,” the company said.
CEO Henry Birch said that Christmas shopping started early at Very and the record-breaking performance was supported by the group's new fulfilment centre, which processed 3.9 million orders during the peak.
He added: “While the economic picture remains unpredictable, we have strong momentum as we begin the year. I believe our resilient, flexible and proven business model, which is online, multi-category and offers customers flexible payment options, will continue to help us thrive in 2021.”
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