Shop Direct to close 7 stores, jobs under threat

Shop Direct, once the UK's most successful pureplay online retailers is planning to close seven stores.

The fashion group and parent company to Very, Littlewoods and Very Exclusive, announced proposals to close its standalone clearance operation, Littlewoods Clearance, which would impact 143 permanent jobs.

Sam Perkins, group retail director at Shop Direct, said in a company statement: “While it has been successful in clearing unsold stock for many years, our standalone operation Littlewoods Clearance is expensive to run and is losing money. Aware of this, and the need to continue our digital transformation, which has seen us remove the catalogue and consolidate brands in recent years, we reviewed alternative options for clearance.

“We found that selling unsold stock in bulk to third parties is the most efficient way to clear it. Simplifying our approach in this way will allow us to free up money to invest further in our digital future and focus on our core pureplay online business.

“The proposal to close Littlewoods Clearance is a difficult decision, but one we believe is necessary for our business. Our priority is to provide a fair outcome for our team and we’ll do everything we can to support potentially impacted colleagues. The company’s recognised trade union, Usdaw, is aware of the proposals, and we are keeping them updated on progress.”

Earlier this year Shop Direct announced that it would slash 1992 jobs in three warehouses in Shaw, Little Hulton and Raven, consolidating operations to a new site in East Midlands Gateway.

Shop Direct currently sells over 1,800 brands and receives over 1.4 million website visits a day, with 74 percent of online sales completed on mobile devices. Group sales last year were up 1.5 percent to just under 2bn pounds.

Photo credit: Shop Direct, Very.co.uk website