Jan 12, 2023
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Fashion and sport sales fall at Very Group, but womenswear stays ahead

Jan 12, 2023

Beauty and home were among the categories that drove sales higher at The Very Group in the seven weeks to 23 December, and even though fashion as a whole dropped, womenswear rose.


Not that it was a bumper season. Across both Very.co.uk and Littlewoods, the group’s retail sales declined 1.3% against a year earlier. 

Meanwhile, Very’s total sales rose only 2.2% year on year, well short of inflation that’s currently hovering around 10%. However, they were 19.6% up on the same seven weeks in 2019, the last Christmas season before the pandemic hit.

Overall, the Black Friday and Christmas periods saw Very’s toys, gift and beauty category sales rising 17.7%. Within this, toys stood out with a 26% rise, while beauty and fragrance jumped an above-inflation 12.7%. Among the top-selling items by volume wasCalvin Klein Eternity Moment perfume.

And home sales rose 10.2%, driven by furniture (+14.4%) and homewares including textiles and home accessories (+11.2%).

Fashion and sports was down 6.6%, but as part of that, womenswear rose 4.8% and menswear 1.3%. 

The company also said that app visits increased 9.4% year on year and as a percentage of total Very visits they reached 41.4% (Christmas 2021: 37.7%). App sales made up 45.4% of total Very sales (against 39.9% a year earlier).

The fastest order of Christmas 2022 was processed in 10 minutes and 30 seconds at the group’s highly automated fulfilment centre, Skygate. And 216,000 items were processed on 22 November, the busiest day of Very’s peak period.

CEO Lionel Desclée called the performance “strong” due to the growth at Very and its higher market share “despite the challenging backdrop”. 

The company had expected shoppers to prioritise toys, gifts and beauty items, justifying its decision to invest in stock within the categories. 

The CEO also said the firm's “trusted supplier and delivery partner relationships and our highly automated fulfilment centre allowed us to meet our customers’ expectations throughout the festive period”.

But he warned that the “high cost of living will create challenges for all retailers in the year ahead”.

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