Shop Direct lifted by the mobile society

The owner of home shopping brands Littlewoods and Very said annual profits jumped after a surge in shoppers placing orders from mobile devices.

Liverpool-based Shop Direct, which also owns the isme brand, said pre-tax profits hit £40.4m in the year to June 30 – from £6.6m in 2013 – as 44 per cent of its online sales came from shoppers buying goods on the move, compared with under a third 12 months ago.

Sales lifted 3 per cent to £1.74bn.

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It added that sales at its Very online shop grew 23.1 per cent to more than £700m, making it bigger than Littlewoods and its other digital stores.

The group, which sells over 900 brands, said its strongest performers were TVs, white goods, gaming consoles and beauty products.

It added that over the next 12 months it would launch a high end fashion collection, called Very Exclusive, which will include such designers as Marc Jacobs, Vivienne Westwood and Karl Lagerfeld.

Shop Direct chief executive Alex Baldock said mobile commerce continued to be a “game changer” for the company.

He added: “These are strong results, driven by the outstanding growth of Very.co.uk and the unrelenting boom in m-commerce.”

Shop Direct is owned by Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, who own The Telegraph, London’s Ritz Hotel and extensive property and retail interests.